The three-party coalition government is led by populist Prime Minister Robert Fico, who has ended the country’s military aid to Ukraine.
Slovakia’s new government won a mandatory vote of confidence in parliament on Tuesday, when 78 of the 143 MPs in the 150-seat parliament voted in favour.
A victory for Fico could mark a dramatic shift in the country’s foreign policy and strain a fragile unity in the EU and NATO.
Slovakia shares a border with Ukraine and has been a staunch supporter of Kiev since Russia’s invasion in February last year, donating weapons and opening its borders to refugees fleeing the war.
FICO has stopped military aid. He also opposes EU sanctions on Russia and wants to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO.
Fico’s critics worry that his return to power could lead Slovakia to abandon its pro-West course in other ways, following the example of Hungary under Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Fico returned to power and took over as prime minister for a fourth time after his scandal-tainted leftist Smr or Direction party won Slovakia’s September 30 parliamentary election on a pro-Russian and anti-American platform.
Fico created a parliamentary majority by signing a coalition government agreement with the leftist Halas, or Voice, party and the ultranationalist Slovak National Party.
The three-party coalition government was sworn in on October 25.
Fico has vowed to pursue a “sovereign” foreign policy, promised a tough stance against migration and NGOs, and campaigned against LGBTQ+ rights.
Some elite investigators and police officers dealing with corruption cases have been ordered to stay home or fired and the government plans to make sentencing for corruption easier, among other changes to the legal system.
Since the previous government took power in 2020 following an anti-corruption campaign, dozens of senior officials, police officers, judges, prosecutors, politicians and businessmen linked to Semar have been accused and convicted of corruption and other crimes. The cases of many others have not been completed yet.
Fico and his former interior minister Robert Kalinek faced criminal charges last year for forming a criminal group and abuse of power. Kalinak is the defense minister in the new government.
Fico, known for his sharp statements against journalists, labeled a major television network, two nationwide newspapers and an online news website as his enemies and said he would not communicate with them.