Saturday, June 22, 2024

Fico shooting not only exposes poisonous politics but Slovakia’s fractured zeitgeist

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The risk is that the latest events will split the country even further. 

The pro-Western opposition parties concerned about the erosion of democratic norms might feel disempowered to oppose the government’s policies, while the government could be emboldened to double down on its illiberal instincts, only exacerbating the tensions that appear to have led to the assault on the Slovak premier. 

This would be the worst possible outcome.

In a democracy, the policies of a ruling government must be allowed to be debated, disagreed with, and criticised. 

But disagreement must never be used as a pretext for violence of any kind. 

And violence must never be used for political point-scoring or, worse, legitimation of undemocratic measures.

It remains to be seen if Slovakia will learn those lessons.

Anton Spisak is an associate fellow at the Centre for European Reform in London


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