The Slovakian democracy is still in it’s early ages and Slovakia has been struggling with authoritarian regime of ruling since the 1989 revolution which was against the dictator communist party. The roots of democracy and overcoming authoritarian regime can be traced back to 1998 elections. Yet, Slovakia is still considered to be a “flawed democracy according to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s report (2019).
The Slovakian parliament is a parliament which consists of coalition parties since a single party is unable to reach the majority of the parliament seats alone which consists of 150 seats. Robert Fico was faced harsh treatment from both opposing parties and from the people, thus he was forced to quit. The former prime minister has served since 2006 to 2018. Between these years the dominant party was the populist center-left party SMER. Yet, because of the suspicious murder of the journalist Jan Kuciak, who was investigating the Italian mafia organizations; Fico resigned. Since the mafia was in organization with Fico’s cabinet. The second biggest protest was made after the 1989 protests in order to make Robert Fico resign. In the 2020 Parliamentary elections, the new coalition has been formed under Igor Matovic. The new ruling coalition consists of Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO), Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), and We are Family. The new coalition ended the eight year rule of the SMER party. The change has given hope for ending corruption, improvements on the justice system and also more trust in the political system. Yet, this new coalition has been suffering due to the pandemic and they are having trouble between the coalition to how to treat the pandemic which creates mistrust between the parties.
In 2020, steps in order to reform the corrupted judiciary system of Slovakia has been started. Yet, rather than achieving systematic improvements, success in the battle against corruption has been largely attributable to the removal of political pressure on police and prosecution. While authorities were able to initiate a number of high-profile investigations, the COVID-19 scandal eclipsed any attempts at structural change. So far, the new government’s actions have been characterized by a lack of openness, but not flagrant corruption.
The Slovak Parliament has been struggling because of the Covid-19 precautions. Vaccination has created a polarized society. Since some vaccinated people have more rights done others, vaccine protests started to occur. In July,2021 due to the vaccine protests the parliament has been criticized for taking harsh treatments. Kotleba has announced that he supported the protesters who tried to break in the parliament. He stated that “They’re for our rights, for my rights. They all fight for everybody who rejects obligatory vaccination,”and also added “I did not call the demonstration. The situation is so critical that people should be directly in parliament,”. The newly formed parliament has been having problems due to the pandemic and also in December, 2021, former Prime Minister Fico wanted to make a protest yet he got arrested since it wasn’t allowed to be more than 6 people and protests were also not allowed due to the pandemic. Former Prime Minister called this demonstration the “Death of Democracy.”; even though he got arrested he was released since he was a parliament member. To conclude, even though the new parliament is more open and less corrupted they have been having problems because of the pandemic and democratic improvements are slowly progressing.
Due to the Sputnik V vaccine scandal the Igor Matovic has resigned from the parliament and to prevent an early election, Eduard Heger has been tasked with creating a new administration.It is the first European government to fall apart over a COVID-19 pandemic decision. Matovi announced his resignation, citing a political controversy sparked by a covert arrangement to buy Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine.
According to the Freedom House the scores that Slovakia got in 2021 is as follows: These scores are out of 7.00 points. Slovakia got 4.75 from National Democratic Governance. 6.25 from Electoral Process, 6.25 from Civil Society, 5 points from Independent Media, 5.50 from Local Democratic Governance, 5.25 from Judicial Framework and Independence and 4.25 points from Corruption categories.
Even though the problems, In 2021, according to the Freedom House, the rating of Judicial Framework and Independence has increased from 5.00 to 5.25. This improvement shows that the new government coalition is more transparent than the last one and there shall be less corruption. Slovakia’s Democracy score has improved to 5.32 from 5.29.
In conclusion, it is possible to say that the new parliament is better for the democracy index to improve yet due to the problems that the pandemic causes within the coalition and also with the people, the new coalition has failed to improve the democratic state of Slovakia and also had been struggling with ending the corruption. Yet the newly formed government has managed to increase the democracy index from 2020 to 2021 which is a promising scenario. If this system keeps to continue than a backslide to more autocratic system of ruling. Yet with the improvements this seems unlikely. Still Slovakia has to take more actions in order to overcome the “flawed democratic” state and became a fully democratic country. But the new parliament is promising.
Democracy Index, 2019. The Economist Intelligence Unit. Retrieved from https://www.eiu.com/topic/democracy-index
Freedom House,2021. Retrieved from https://freedomhouse.org/country/slovakia/nations-transit/2021
Euronews, 2021, Retrieved From https://www.euronews.com/2021/07/23/fooled-by-disinformation-vaccine-protests-at-slovak-parliament
Euronews, 2021, Retrieved From https://www.euronews.com/2021/12/17/slovakia-s-ex-pm-robert-fico-arrested-on-camera-for-alleged-covid-breach
Euronews, 2021, Retrieved From https://www.euronews.com/2021/03/28/slovakia-s-prime-minister-to-step-down-amid-sputnik-v-vaccine-scandal
BBC News, 2021, Retrieved From, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-57487864#:~:text=Journalist%20Jan%20Kuciak%20and%20Martina,of%20the%20then%2Dprime%20minister.