Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ethno-Nats take a hit in Slovakia but doing well in Belgium

A quick follow-up to this post:
A coalition of centre-right opposition parties in Slovakia has won enough seats to unseat the current government.

With almost all votes counted, Prime Minister Robert Fico's leftist Smer party has just over 35%, enough to gain 63 seats in the 150-seat parliament.

But three conservative parties and an ethnic Hungarian party are set to win 78 seats.
The other good news is that two xenophobic nationalist parties, the Slovak National Party and the HZDS (party of former Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar) have done badly. Also interesting to note that "ethnic" Hungarian party "Most-Hid" (translated as "bridge" in both Hungarian and Slovak) is much less stridently "Magyar" than the Hungarian government's preferred choice, the MKP, which has failed to enter parliament this time. In what may prove to be counterintuitively long-term good news for relationships in the region, two representatives of the Hungarian government put the economy almost into freefall with comments made, ironically enough, on Trianon Commemorance Day. The government has now been forced to turn away from winding up the neighbours and concentrate on the real financial crisis faced by the country.

Not such good news on the horizon from the other end of the continent:
Belgium is holding parliamentary elections which could bring the country closer to a constitutional split.

The Flemish separatist party the New Flemish Alliance (NVA) is expected to do well in the vote.

Its leader Bart De Wever supports dividing the country in two, Dutch-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia.

However, a split bringing an end to Belgium would not happen immediately.

Belgian governments are required to be made up of a bi-lingual coalition, but this is the first federal election from which a party advocating the end of Belgium could emerge the outright winner
Once the full results are known, I'll do a longer post on this.

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