Slovak National Party
|Slovak National Party|
|European affiliation||Movement for a Europe of Liberties and Democracy (2011-present)|
|European Parliament group||Europe of Freedom and Democracy (2009–2014)|
|Colours||White, Blue, Red (Colours of the Slovak flag)|
|Politics of Slovakia
The Slovak National Party (Slovak: Slovenská národná strana, SNS) is a political party in Slovakia. The party characterizes itself as a socialist, nationalist party based on the European Christian system of values. However it is sometimes described as ultra-nationalist, right-wing extremist, and far-right, due to its statements about Hungarians and Romani which have been characterised as racist. The party’s major concern after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia has been the alleged danger of "irredentism". Any moves and changes toward broader rights for the national minorities living in Slovakia, especially the sizeable Hungarian minority living in southern Slovakia, was seen as a step toward territorial autonomy.
Since 1990 SNS has won seats in every Slovak parliament but two (in 2002 and 2012) and has been part of the government from 2006 to 2010. In that year it formed a coalition with Robert Fico's Direction – Social Democracy (Smer-SD), which resulted in suspension of Smer-SD from the Party of European Socialists (PES). The PES considered SNS a "political party which incites or attempts to stir up racial or ethnic prejudices and racial hatred." However, in 2008 Smer's membership suspension ended with no further PES's demands regarding SNS. In the Slovak parliamentary election, 2012, SNS failed to meet the 5% electoral threshold, and thus lost parliamentary representation. On the following party congress in October 2012, the delegates chose lawyer Andrej Danko as the new chairman of the party.
The party was founded in December 1989 and perceives itself as an ideological heir to the historical Slovak National Party. The party declares its three pillars: Christianity, nationalism and socialism. One of the biggest events the SNS has participated in since then was the establishment of an independent Slovakia on 1 January 1993. The SNS has had deputies in the Slovak parliament in the years 1990–2002 and 2006-2012. The party also had deputies in the Slovak government. Marián Andel, Jozef Prokeš, Jaroslav Paška and Ľudovít Černák were in the second Mečiar government (1992–1994), Ján Sitek and Eva Slavkovská in the third Mečiar government (1994–1998) and other deputies were in the government of Robert Fico from 2006–2010 (see below).
Between the years 2001 and 2005 there was a Real Slovak National Party (Pravá slovenská národná strana, PSNS), a party of SNS splinters, which remerged with SNS later. Since 2005, there is also a United Slovak National Party (Zjednotená slovenská národná strana, ZSNS), also formed of former SNS members. In February 2006, PSNS changed its name into the Slovak National Coalition – Slovak Mutuality (Slovenská národná koalícia – Slovenská vzájomnosť). However, only the Slovak National Party is currently relevant.
In 2008 a €120 million tender for establishing the rules and guidelines and logos for distribution of funds from the European Union, was won by a consortium of firms with close ties to SNS leader Ján Slota. The tender notice had been posted for only five days on a bulletin board in the ministry run by the SNS party behind a locked door, which resulted in a single bid. Following the scandal, the SNS minister in charge of the contract was fired, and the European Commission has launched an investigation. In 2009 SNS proposed law to create barriers for women seeking abortion in Slovakia.
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In the parliamentary election of 17 June 2006, the party won 11.6% of the popular vote and 20 out of 150 seats.
In the 2009 European Parliament elections, the party won 5.6% of the vote to obtain its first seat. The party was member of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group during the 7th European Parliament.
2006–2010: In Slovak government
SNS entered the current Slovak government after Chairman Ján Slota and Robert Fico agreed to create a coalition government. This created an unusual situation of an alleged far-right party, SNS being accepted and taken as a partner by SMER, a party describing itself as leftist. Three SNS ministers were sworn in on 4 July 2006:
Further ministers, delegated by SNS:
In April 2008, a map was published on the official web page discussion forum of the party where the territory of Hungary was divided between Slovakia and Austria, eliminating Hungary from the map. After receiving media attention the map was promptly removed and the party has denied responsibility, referring to the free access policy of the forum section, where the map was posted. The former party leader Ján Slota is the source of considerable controversy, Slota is frequently criticized for arrogance, nationalism, and extremism. The Slovak Spectator reports that most of the media attention Slota receives is because of statements that cross "the line not just of political but also human decency." Documents about party leader Slota's criminal past, detailing arson, grand theft auto and assault, were broadcast by Markíza, the leading private television station in Slovakia, which resulted in a court case Markíza v Slota. During the court proceedings Slota admitted to some of the crimes and even said he was proud of assaulting and beating a Hungarian saying "I am proud of giving that Hungarian a black eye". Another physical assault was committed by Anna Belousovová of SNS against fellow parliamentarian Igor Matovič of SaS. The SNS politician slapped Matovič saying she disliked an article written by him.
Allegations of racism and discrimination
The ultra-nationalist SNS is known for its inflammatory rhetoric against ethnic Roma and Hungarians. The Party of European Socialists, considered SNS as a "political party which incites or attempts to stir up racial or ethnic prejudices and racial hatred." The former party's leader Ján Slota, referred to by Earthtimes as "a xenophobic politician who has stirred anti-Hungarian sentiments", said the best policy for dealing with the Romani was "a long whip in a small yard." He is quoted as saying "we will sit in our tanks and destroy Budapest" and questioning if homosexuals are normal people. Slota stated that "The Hungarians are a cancer in the body of the Slovak nation." Slota called the fascist leader Jozef Tiso "one of the greatest sons of the Slovak nation" and on 17 February 2000, 40 of the 41 city council members in Žilina, where Slota was mayor at the time, voted to dedicate a plaque honouring Jozef Tiso. Honoring Tiso is very controversial since he was not only a fascist leader but a convicted Nazi collaborator and an executed war criminal. Later in a move that was described as absurd by a Slovak journalist, SNS demanded the seat of deputy prime minister responsible for human rights and national minorities. The party did not manage to obtain the seat.
Allegations of fascism
In the past, the SNS party was accused of being a fascist party. The allegations are sometimes connected to various statements of party members or that SNS was behind "the continuing campaign to rehabilitate Jozef Tiso, head of the wartime fascist regime, which was responsible for the deportation of the country’s Jews to the death camps" might also be a contributing factor. One high profile fascist allegation was when in 2006 in a live interview with Inforadio, a politician of the Party of the Hungarian Coalition, Miklós Duray described SNS as a "fascist party". Duray said "one third of the Slovak government is made up of Slota's party which is fascist" describing the 2006 governing coalition between Robert Fico's Smer, Ján Slota's SNS, and HZDS, making SNS one of the three governing parties. SNS sued for financial damages, alleging the statement caused it loss of votes, image, and reputation. The Slovak Supreme Court ultimately decided that SNS is not entitled to any monetary damages for being called fascist. SNS party chairman Ján Slota denounced the Supreme Court of Slovakia for that decision.