The fall of the Radicova government – a sacrifice or a heroic act by the Prime Minister?

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The resignation of the Prime Minister – a sacrifice?

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01/14/2013 - 12:49
The Slovak refusal of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) undoubtedly shocked all of Europe. However, the specificity of the Slovak case is due to another issue - to the fact that Prime Minister Iveta Radičová chose to sacrifice her government as well as her own post in order to save the Euro and the honour of her country.

The Slovak refusal of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) undoubtedly shocked all of Europe. From the moment it became obvious that the EFSF would be passed a few days later, Europe and journalists calmed down and attention was drawn again to Greece, Italy and other countries with real difficulties.

The specificity of the Slovak refusal

However, what should have really surprised European leaders is not the initial refusal of the facility, which was quickly overcome. Slovakia is too small to block such a measure anyway. The specificity of the Slovak case is due to a different issue – the fact that Prime Minister Iveta Radičová chose to sacrifice her government as well as her own position in order to save the Euro and the honour of her country.

The true nature of « no »

It is undeniable that negotiations before the crucial vote failed because of the uncovered hostility of Richard Sulik’s liberal party (SaS) towards the EFSF. Slovakia could have refused without launching the fall of the government, but in such a hypothetical case the credibility of the country would have been lost for a long time. Therefore Radičová was obliged to choose the lesser evil, which meant to link the motion of confidence to the vote of the EFSF, wishing to convince her partners by this measure of last resort, knowing she would probably loose. Nevertheless, the party SaS did not vote in its favour and the Facility was refused. Therefore the government has fallen, but only because of one party of the coalition, the SaS. Iveta Radičová has in fact sacrificed herself bravely in order to overcome the nearsightedness of her “liberal” partners and to show that the government, or precisely, its three remaining parties, were prepared to pay the highest price. The Euro zone, Brussels, all of Europe could see that this refusal of the Facility wasn't that of Slovakia as a whole, but that of only a handful of people who could not see beyond their own noses.

The consequences

It is a clear and obvious message indeed: Slovakia, one of the most euro-optimistic countries, believes in the Euro and does not want to impede, to block the European decisions on a national level. The crisis of the sovereign debt which is currently haunting Europe (and the world) is at the origin of several resignations which resemble each other – the ones of irresponsible politicians incapable of managing finances and therefore being forced to leave their posts. With one exception: Iveta Radičová, who, on the contrary, lead the country well, which is why the majority of Europe could envy our debt; and she is very responsible, indeed – to the extent that she preferred to resign and save as much of our country’s honour as possible.

This article deliberately presents only one of the many existing points of views of this contorversial subject. Its content is not necessarily representative of its author's personal opinion. Please have a look at Duel Amical's philosophy.

Was the conduct of the Prime Minister heroic?

01/25/2013 - 13:43
Although Slovakia did finally give her consent with enlargement of the EFSF, the price was the fall of its government. The Slovak Prime Minster, Iveta Radičová, was often considered a heroine for opposing to the “dictatorship of the EU”, but can we really speak of heroism?

The vote on the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) was a key moment for the European Union and for the Euro zone especially. But for one Euro zone member state, it was also a decisive moment for its domestic politics. Though Slovakia did finally give her consent with enlargement of the EFSF, the price was the fall of its government. The Slovak Prime Minister, Iveta Radičová, was often considered a heroine for opposing to the “dictatorship of the EU”, but can we really speak of heroism?

The reasons for the government's instability

After the Slovak parliamentary elections in 2010, a coalition of four parties came to power, despite the victory of the social democrat party (SMER – sociálna demokracia). However, from the beginning of her mandate, Radičová, whose popularity helped her to assume the position of Prime Minister, had to face difficulties. Due to the instability of the coalition formed out of parties of different orientations (Slovak Democratic and Christian Union, Democratic Party (SDKÚ-DS), Liberty and Solidarity (SaS), The Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) and Most–Híd (MH)), she was forced to concentrate on the search for consensus. Her position was even more difficult because she could not count on her own party’s (SDKÚ-DS) unconditional support, as she was only one of its vice-presidents, not its chairman.

So even before the vote on enlargement of the EFSF, the government had already known several grave crises. In fact, the government has found itself paralyzed quite soon, unable to realize its ambitious program of reforms.

The EFSF: prisoner of internal political quarrel

When Radičová confirmed Slovakia's positive response to the question of the EFSF in spite of divergent opinions within the coalition, its incapacity to act in unison was fully exposed. This question has progressively become just a feeble attempt to cover mere internal settling accounts and it is in allowing this that Radičová had failed. Not only did she fail to stand up to the traditional mediating role of the Prime Minister, but she also allowed abuse of such a vital question for shallow political interests. This becomes even more serious when you put into consideration that it did not only damage the credibility of Slovakia, but that it was also at the expense of the EU’s objectives by undermining solidarity of its members.

What is heroic about linking the motion of confidence to the vote on the EFSF?

The fall of the government following the vote on the enlargement of the EFSF is considered a moral victory of Radičová by some. But can we consider her decision to link the vote to the motion of confidence as a heroic act? Not only did her reaction come too late, but she also bet everything on the last-minute support of her coalition partner SaS (Liberty and Solidarity; Eurosceptics). So her objective was to put pressure on SaS, which was against the EFSF’s enlargement. At the same time, the proposition of the oppositional party, SMER-SD favourable of the enlargement was just ignored.

What were the the consequences of this act? Blackmailing did not prove itself efficient and the opposition, favourable to the FESF’s enlargement, could not vote for it either, because due to the motion of confidence, it would have meant declaring confidence in the government, impossible for the opposition faithful in its principles) The end of the coalition appeared to be definitive when a majority of 76 votes was not reached (69 against, and 55 in favour, out of 124).

Therefore the consequences of this conduct said to be “heroic”, lead to the fall of the government, further political instability and the loss of Slovakia’s credibility, once and for all.

 

This article deliberately presents only one of the many existing points of views of this contorversial subject. Its content is not necessarily representative of its author's personal opinion. Please have a look at Duel Amical's philosophy.

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The resignation of the Prime Minister – a sacrifice?
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