September 2023 | Pro-Russian Robert Fico wins snap elections
The populist left-wing Smer party led by former Prime Minister Robert Fico won early parliamentary elections, held on 30 September. Smer won 22.94 per cent of the vote and 42 of the 150 seats in the country’s unicameral Parliament. A total of seven parties will be represented in Parliament. Progressive Slovakia (PS) came in second place with 17.96 per cent of the vote and 32 seats, winning 61.7 per cent of the record-high overseas vote. The centre-left Hlas party, an offshoot from the Smer party, placed third with 27 seats, followed by the OL’aNO party with 16 seats. The Christian Democrat party and nationalist SNS party also returned to Parliament. Voter turnout was 68.42 per cent. The elected MPs comprise 33 women (22 per cent) and 117 men (78 per cent).
August 2023 | Police apprehend intelligence heads accused of obstructing corruption investigations
Police arrested multiple high-ranking officials in the intelligence services on charges of organised crime, abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The directors of the Slovak Information Service and the National Security Authority are among seven people facing charges for alleged interference with the investigation of high-level corruption cases involving government officials. The officials arrested included Tibor Gašpar, who is a candidate in Robert Fico's Smer party in the upcoming elections and served as chief of police under Fico’s regime from 2012-2018. Fico has claimed the arrests represent a police coup, calling the moves political calculations to weaken his party, currently leading in the polls, in the approach to the elections scheduled for 30 September. President Zuzana Čaputová convened the Security Council for an emergency meeting, where she underscored that no coup had been executed by the police, and that Slovak security agencies continued to be operational.
July 2023 | President forces out Interior Minister after dispute with police leadership
President Zuzana Čaputová revoked the mandate of Interior minister Ivan Šimko, following disagreements with police force heads. Earlier in the month, Šimko had criticized the police in a string of social media posts, noting “obvious failings” in their investigation of the murder of a woman by her stalker on 29 June, after failing to act on several criminal complaints of harassment filed by the victim before her death. One controversial post published by Šimko on social media, stating “the hands of people with pistols and handcuffs must not be untied," came under fire for implying that Šimko is in favour of political control over law enforcement. Police Chief Štefan Havran, National Crime Agency (NAKA) head Ľubomír Daňko, and several high-ranking police officers subsequently threatened to resign. Šimko had separately clashed with police heads when he resisted the appointment of Pavol Ďurka, who is currently facing criminal charges, to a management position in the police inspectorate.
May 2023 | New technocratic caretaker government sworn in
A new interim technocratic government was sworn in. The government will be charged with steering Slovakia through a period of political crisis until snap elections, scheduled for September, can be held. President Zuzana Čaputová appointed economist Ľudovít Ódor to lead the new government. The previous caretaker government led by Eduard Heger resigned after it emerged that a company affiliated with former Agriculture Minister Samuel Vlčan, was granted a EUR 1.4 million subsidy by the Environment Ministry. The case is currently under investigation by the National Crime Agency (NAKA).