A neo-Nazi party made significant gains in Slovakia’s recent general election, winning parliamentary seats for the first time.
The LS-Nase Slovensko (Our Slovakia) party, led by Marian Kotleba, gained 14 parliamentary seats on 6th March after picking up 8 per cent of the vote in an election that failed to produce a majority result.
The party is known for defending Slovakia’s WWII role as a puppet state of Nazi Germany. Another extreme-right party, the Slovak National Party (SNS), returned to the parliament, or National Council, after a four-year absence, winning 15 seats.
Slovakia’s Social Democrat Prime Minister Robert Fico lost his parliamentary majority in what has been termed a “big earthquake” in the country’s politics.
Fico’s governing coalition won 49 seats in the 150-seat Parliament after adopting one of the one of the toughest positions on the migration crisis among EU leaders. He said: “We’ll never bring even a single Muslim to Slovakia: we won’t create any Muslim communities here because they pose a serious security risk.”
The following day Jewish groups spoke out over the electoral successes of neo-Nazi parties in Europe, citing Svoboda in Ukraine and Golden Dawn in Greece.
“Once again we see hate-groups disguised as democratic parties enter European national parliaments,” said European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor. “This is an extremely worrying trend and something that all moderate parties and politicians from the Left and Right should work against.”
The New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) highlighted the fact that Marian Kotleba and others in his party have expressed support for the Hlinka Guard, which helped deport Slovakia’s Jews to death camps.
“An openly neo-Nazi party will now have a national platform, at the heart of Slovakia’s democracy, to spread its hate,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL’s chief executive. “All of the democratic parties which will sit with Kotleba and his fellow bigots must counter them at every turn.”