Kotleba – People's Party Our Slovakia
|Founded||21 February 2010|
|Youth wing||Ľudová mládež|
|European affiliation||Alliance for Peace and Freedom|
|European Parliament group||Non-Inscrits|
|Slogan||Odvahou proti systému|
(With courage against the system)
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The People's Party – Our Slovakia (Slovak: Ľudová strana – Naše Slovensko, ĽSNS), since November 2015 officially known as Kotleba – People's Party Our Slovakia (Slovak: Kotleba – Ľudová strana Naše Slovensko), is a far-right national populist neo-Nazi political party in Slovakia. The party declares that it builds on the legacy of Ľudovít Štúr, Andrej Hlinka and Jozef Tiso.
The party's platform includes anti-Roma rhetoric, immigration control, Christian morality, paternalism on economic issues, interest-free national loans, replacement of the euro currency with the Slovak koruna, law and order, rejection of the idea of same-sex civil unions, and criticism of the country's current leadership and foreign policy. The party proposes to reduce the number of parliamentarians from 150 to 100 members, to widen freedom of speech, to establish a home guard, and to withdraw the Slovak military from missions abroad. Moreover, it wants Slovakia to leave the European Union, European Monetary Union and NATO.
The origins of the party are closely related to the nationalist Slovak Togetherness. The members of the movement tried to run in the 2006 elections under the name Slovak Togetherness – National Party, but the party was dissolved by the Supreme Court on grounds of anti-constitutional activities. Instead of founding a whole new party, members of Slovak Togetherness under the leadership of Marian Kotleba entered the tiny Party of Friends of Wine that had existed since 2000, changed its name to People's Party of Social Solidarity in May 2009 and then to People's Party – Our Slovakia in early 2010. This was done to avoid legal difficulties with registering a new party under this name given that a different party called Our Slovakia already existed.
During the elections of 2016, the party nominated several candidates seen as controversial, such as an ex-singer of neo-Nazi music bands Krátky proces and Juden Mord and a candidate who openly admired Adolf Hitler and promoted Hlinka's historical Slovak People's Party.
Allegations of fascism
The party is perceived by liberal politicians and part of the populace as being fascist. This is due to some members of the party being connected to extremist movements such as the Slovak Brotherhood in Kotleba's case or the fact the party and its members requested a minute of silence for Jozef Tiso, who supported and actively put laws in place during the Second World War that discriminated against Jews and made the country pay Nazi Germany to transfer Slovak Jews into concentration camps. Under Jozef Tiso regime Slovakia attacked Poland in 1939. Kotleba and his party was also described by both the Slovak President Andrej Kiska and Czech President Miloš Zeman as fascist. The party denies any connection to fascism.
In May 2017, the General Prosecutors Office of the Slovak Republic made a submission to the Supreme Court, requesting a dissolution of the party. The General Prosecutors Office reasoned this step by alleged pro-fascist tendencies of the party, violation of the constitution of the Slovak Republic and violation of Slovak and international laws.
On 29 March 2018 during the party congress meeting, a new logo was proposed, replacing the old one that had straight winged Slovak double cross without national mountains inspired and used by Hlinka's Slovak People's Party and Hlinka Guard during the First Slovak Republic, with the new one that has classic Slovak double cross with national mountains in it. Party said that they changed the logo to distance themselves from fascism, nazism, or any form of extremism.
Kotleba – People's Party Our Slovakia wants a "functioning state" that is free from corruption, foreign influences and "larceny of public finance". It seeks to give the general public the power to abjure and renounce any member of the parliament and it wishes to decrease the total number of seats from 150 to 100. Additionally it wants to introduce a flat tax rate of 15% and stop the financing of campaigns for political parties from the state budget. The party sees the EU and NATO as undermining the sovereignty of the Slovak nation and wants to leave these organizations to give Slovakia full sovereignty and not be part of "American war crimes and a toy in hands to foreign superpowers". ĽSNS also advocates the investigation of foreign NGOs for possible unlawful or corrupting activity and to "liberate Slovakia from the slavery of foreign bankers".
For internal security, the party wants to establish a home guard that can protect the people where the normal police forces are not adequate at stopping "Gypsy extremists" who "steal, rape and murder" the "Honest people" while also advocating the use of weapons for protection of personal life and private property. It also wants to make politicians responsible for any criminal or corrupt activity they partake in while being a public servant and to be punished accordingly. ĽSNS wants to make police forces train in illegal settlements inhabited by the resident Romani populace and demolish any illegal constructions whether they are "Black Settlements or Palaces of The rich". The party wants to re-establish border control on each of the country's borders and give the parliament the ability to use the army to enforce these borders if necessary. Due to the country's armed forces being small and ill-prepared, it is seen as necessary to modernize, renew, and increase the size of the army to be able to protect the nation effectively from any threats when it leaves NATO, to prevent the "hordes of Muslim immigrants" from coming to Slovakia and to protect Christianity and European culture.
The party wants to give jobs to the long-term unemployed. These jobs consist of the maintenance of roads, schools, national memorials, hospitals and construction of housing as part of their social policy. The retirement age would be set to 60 years of age and the government would increase financial benefits for mothers with children; with rent-able housing being provided to "polite and proper families" and the cancellation of benefits to "non-working gypsy thieves". The party wants to nationalize the health care system to provide free healthcare for the citizens as written in the constitution of Slovakia and create one nationwide health insurance firm. Additionally, the party wants to return to one statewide emergency service and to make sure that every ambulance has a doctor on board to administer appropriate care. Furthermore, the party wants to rear children with traditional and Christian values, to protect them from violent media and to stop the service of gambling machines while supporting domestic media producers and artists to prevent a "degenerate society" made by "consumerism and empty liberalism".
In terms of the economy, the party wants to also nationalize all strategic industries such as power stations, steel manufacturing or public transport. The party wants to create energy self-sufficiency and food self-sufficiency to make the country less dependent on imports by rebuilding the agricultural industry. The party wants to get rid of bureaucracy in business to increase growth of domestic companies and it rejects the TTIP agreement. In addition the party wants to exit the European Monetary Union and re-establish the previous currency (Slovak koruna) to give the state and the central bank authority to decide on the monetary policy. Moreover, the party also wants to protect the environment from pollution and exploitation by implementing laws and regulation and support alternative energy.
Views on Roma and migrants
The party sees and describes the unintegrated groups of Romani people as being a drain on the social security system due to large Roma families receiving a higher amount of benefits for children compared to ethnic Slovaks, this especially applies to illegal Roma settlements, where these "gypsy extremists", as the party calls them, often live. Occasionally the party has said that it wants to stop "Gypsy terror" and uses the Krásna Hôrka Castle fire of 2012 as an example, whilst using rhetoric that describes the "gypsy extremists" as a social "parasites" and "extremists" that "steal, rape and murder".
According to the party, immigrants from third world countries are invaders who are supported by globalists to destroy the old continent of Europe. The party is against any acceptance of even a single refugee, stating that even one is too much, while blaming EU and Schengen for migrant invasion.
Marian Kotleba, while a governor of the Banská Bystrica region, sent a personal letter on 31 January 2014 to Viktor Yanukovych during the unrest in Ukraine, writing "As a fellow Slav not to surrender his country to EU interests, markets and NATO aggression, to stay vigilant against foreign coup, and to remember what happened to Serbian national heroes such as Slobodan Milošević."
On 5 May 2016, the Kotleba party in the Banská Bystrica region hung up a Russian flag in the city of Banská Bystrica to show sympathy with the Russian community in the city and the motorcycle club the Night Wolves, which came to commemorate the Russian victory over fascism. The party also sent 3 people, including 1 MP, to commemorate together at the SNP monument and museum, however party leader Marian Kotleba denounced Allied champaign in Slovak National Uprising and indirectly endorsed Axis WWII Slovak Republic.
Some media such as Pluska or Denník N accused the party of being financed by Russian bank[which?] through Austrian-Wien bank to the Slovak bank, Polish Internal Security Agency (ABW) was first to come with this evidence after the arrest of Mateusz Piskorski. The party denied all of these claims, describing the party's program to be neutral between the United States and Russia, but harshly denying any aggression against Russia or its government, accusing the US of being the main sponsor of terrorism across the world and NATO of being an actual aggressor against Russia. This is one of the reasons for which the party wants Slovakia to leave NATO.
On 2 February 2017, Marian Kotleba and his party spoke against sending 152 Slovak soldiers contingent on NATO training mission in Latvia near Russian border, stating that it was a clear provocation of the Russian Federation by the NATO pact. During voting time about this issue in Slovak parliament, only his party and Sme Rodina voted against sending troops on this NATO mission, all other parties supported it. He also accused the government and opposition of acting like Nazis and Hitler in 1941 when he was preparing to attack Soviet Union, before Operation Barbarossa.
On 2 June 2017, the party was accused of being financed by Alexander Usovskij from Belarus, after his emails were leaked to the public were reported on by German broadcaster ZDF. It is said that he was supplying money from Russian Federation to Eastern European countries, including Slovakia, to fuel pro-Russian activities, even mentioning that Usovskij is supporting ĽSNS work. Usovskij denied to be in contact with ĽSNS, but said that he sympathises with party activities, agreeing with their bid for a referendum to leave NATO. ZDF also added that he may had been looking for investors for this referendum.
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