Resolute Square

From Kingmaker To Prime Minister

Former Slovakian PM Peter Pellegrini is a strong friend to Ukraine and democracy, and is seeking a return to the country's most powerful position. But Putin-Orban-ally, Robert Fico who is also a Former Slovakian PM is fighting to reclaim the seat creating a threat not only to Ukraine but international stability and support for democracy.
Published:October 5, 2023

By Sarah Ashton-Cirillo
His name has been discussed across Europe and the world for the last weeks, if not months. He is a friend to despots and tyrants, including Vlad Putin. He has promised to end aid to Ukraine while cozying up to the scourge of freedom Viktor Orban. He was toppled from power during his previous term in office due to the murder of a journalist. Yet, his party won the most votes on Sunday in the recently concluded Slovakian elections. Yet for Robert Fico, the two-time former Slovakian Prime Minister, the 42 seats in parliament his party won over the weekend have not guaranteed him a return trip to his country’s most powerful leadership post.
While the liberal euro-centric Progressive Slovakia party came in second with 32 seats, all eyes are now on another former Slovakian Prime Minister, Peter Pellegrini. Pellegrini’s social democratic faction, Hlas-SD, received 27 seats after the votes were tabulated, placing them in third place; however, far from being just a kingmaker, Pellegrini is in line to reclaim the position he previously held from March of 2018 to March of 2020.
Pellegrini came to office on the heels of seeing his former political ally, Fico, get toppled by mass protests after the murders of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiance, Martina Kusnirova. At the time, many looked upon Pellegrini as a simple placeholder for Fico, as both were then members of Fico’s Smer-SD party; since that turnover in power more than five years ago, a seismic split took place in the Slovakian political landscape, which not only proved that Peter Pellegrini was his own man, but has vast global implications today.
In 2020, Pellegrini formed his new party after leaving office, splitting away from Fico for various reasons, including Fico’s attacks on refugees, specifically Muslims, during the 2015- 2016 European Union humanitarian crisis.
Now, after Fico vowed to cut weapons and support Ukraine, a closer look is needed at the views of his former ally. Despite internal concerns over logistics and the amount of potential military aid Slovakia could continue to supply to the defense of the Ukrainian people, Pelligrini’s view is clear. He backs Ukraine’s war for liberty and liberation against the Russian invaders, going so far as to say he guaranteed “the continuity of our foreign policy orientation” and that he couldn’t “imagine sitting together in the same government with Robert Fico” while announcing Smer-SD was a “party of the past.”
The elections made clear that Slovakians were demanding a change in governance; despite this, a majority of them went to the polls and voted for parties that supported Ukraine. When examining the electorate's will and respecting the Slovak voter's voice, the best outcome for Slovakia and the global community is another term in office for Peter Pellegrini. It is not about the votes he received; although he gained a healthy plurality of them, it is because he is the only potential prime minister capable of forming a coalition that understands the needs and wants of the Slovakian populace while making certain Slovakia remains an ally to freedom and the rule of law both inside the EU and around the world.
Sarah Ashton-Cirillo is a contributor to Resolute Square, believer in democracy, warrior for liberty, and junior Sergeant in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.