The European elections in Slovakia

The European elections in Slovakia

Andrej Koptak May 2019

The overall turnout at the European Parliament elections in Slovakia was higher than in previous years. Compared with 2014 (13.05%), in 2019, the turnout was 22.74%, which is the highest since Slovakia joined the EU in 2004. This was mainly due to the increased interest of Slovaks in events in Europe, as well as a significant shift in the political landscape in Slovakia. Increased turnout was mainly recorded in cities. Among major changes in Slovak politics is the significant decrease in political preferences for coalition political parties (SMER-SD, SNS, Most-híd), the continued rise of populist and far-left politicians, and the establishmenet of new political parties (e.g. Progresívne Slovensko, SPOLU-OD).

The overall winner of the elections is the pro-european coalition of newly established political parties, Progresívne Slovensko (ALDE) and SPOLU – Občianska demokracia (EPP). The coalition of these parties achieved 20.11% of the vote, giving both parties two MEPs each (2 ALDE and 2 EPP). SMER-SD was the only coaliton party which won MEPs. SMER-SD got 15.72% of the vote, giving the party three MEPs in total (S&D), which is a worse result in comparision with previous elections in 2014 (24.09%/4 MEPs). The populist far-right political party, Kotleba-People’s Party Our Slovakia (not yet part of any group), received 12.07%, giving the party in total 3 MEPs. After significant internal changes within the party, the Kresťanskodemokratické hnutie (KDH, member of EPP) were successful in mobilising the electorate in traditionally supportive regions, and received 9.69% (1 MEP instantly + 1 MEP as substitute in case of Brexit). Despite significant competition in the form of newly established right-wing political parties,  Sloboda a Solidarita (SaS, member of ECR) received 9.62%. More significant representatives left Obyčajní ľudia a nezávislé osobnosti (OĽaNO, member of ECR), which was also reflected in the results. OĽaNO received 5.25% and returned one MEP.

Most-híd (the Hungarian minority political party), as well as the SNS, did not reach the required threshold and returned no MEPs.

There are some important factors to bear in mind, which influenced the results of the elections:

  • The success of Zuzana Čapútová in the presidential elections and the cooperation with Progresívne Slovensko and SPOLU – Občianska demokracia;
  • Long-term decrease of popularity of the governing party, SMER-SD, in connection to the murder of investigative journalist, Ján Kuciak, in February 2018;
  • Rivalry and disputes among coalition parties;
  • Increase in popularity of eurosceptic populists;
  • Newly established political parties and, with that, broader mobilisation of the electorate;
  • Increased turnout, despite it being still significant compared to other Member States.

Interesting facts:

  • The very first Slovak MEP with Roma nationality (Peter Pollák – OĽaNO) was elected;
  • Two of the new MEPs are environmental activists (Michal Wiezik, SPOLU – Občinská demokracia and Martin hojsík – Progresívne Slovensko);
  • KDH (9.69%) has lower number of MEPs (1 MEP pernament + 1 MEP as substitute in case of Brexit), although it received more votes than SaS (9.62%), which has two permanent mandates. KDH plans to move the whole situation to Constitutional Court.
  • Just two of the newly elected MEPs were able to protect their mandates (Monika Beňová – SMER-SD and Ivan Štefanec – KDH);
  • One coalition composed of members of different fractions Progresívne Slovensko (ALDE) and SPOLU – Občianska demokracia (EPP).