National Populism and Slovak–Hungarian Relations in Slovakia 2006–2009

Political development in Central European countries took a peculiar turn after their accession to the European Union in 2004 but especially after a series of national elections in 2005 and 2006. They put in driver's seat politicians whose mode of expression, style of pursuing political goals and attitude to political opponents was - to say the least - unusual for suave politicians from Western European saloons. Analysts, journalists and civic activists openly began to speak of the rise of new populism. The new phenomenon was examined thoroughly; countless publications were issued on the topic, various conferences, seminars, workshops and discussions were organized focusing on populism, its theoretical foundation, its methodological grasping, its modus operandi and its impact on voters.

The present publication is one of the outputs of a project titled Challenging National Populism and Promoting Interethnic Tolerance and Understanding in Slovakia that was carried out by the Forum Institute for Minority Research in Šamorín. Its main goal was not to make just another contribution to the theoretical discourse for we believe that the phenomenon of populism has been relatively thoroughly described by a great number of authors. A partial list of their works is included in the bibliography at the end of this publication.

The principal ambition of the collective of authors of this book was rather to examine a specific form of populism that is frequently referred to as national populism. In Slovakia, the nationalist scion of populism emerged in the mid-1990s and was closely related to the name Vladimír Meèiar. In his study that forms part of this publication, Peter Uèeò poignantly defined what was at the heart of the new type of populism. What is relevant from the perspective of our approach is that Vladimír Meèiar managed to convince a critical mass of the Slovak electorate that he was the best safeguard able to protect Slovakia (and the Slovak nation) against the triple threat of national doom: first, against the Czechs regarding the constitutional model of the dying Czechoslovak federation and just division of its common goods; second, against the Hungarians regarding Slovakia's territorial integrity and political sovereignty and elimination of discrimination against Slovaks on ethnically mixed territories; finally, against multinational corporations, international institutions and all capitalists from abroad who in conspiracy with ethnic Hungarians and other internal enemies of the state (i.e. political opposition and non- governmental organizations) tried to undermine economy, security and political independence of the young and fragile Slovak Republic. Such a self-created image of the nation's saviour from the threefold peril served him as a disguise for an uncompromising, sometimes even merciless exploitation of political and economic interests.

After the parliamentary elections of 2006 brought to power the ruling coalition of SMER-SD - SNS - LS-HZDS, many analysts gained an im - pression that Slovakia was again embracing national populism as the key vehicle of political campaigning and rivalry we remember from the 1990s. Is it truly so, or are we dealing with some 'softer' and harmless version of national populism that produces smoke rather than fire?


A kiadvány teljes szövegû változata letölthetõ a Magyar Elektronikus Könyvtár adatbázisából.



Peter Uèeò: Approaching National Populism

  • National Populism at Large
  • Populism in Focus
  • Nationalism Under Suspect
  • Post-Communist National Populism in Action
  • Framework for the Post-Communist Populism
  • Implications of the Chosen Classification
  • Slovak National Populist Moment
  • National Populism "Light"?
  • Conclusion

Grigorij Mese¾nikov: National Populism in Slovakia - Defining the Character of the State and Interpreting Select Historic Events

  • National Populism and the Context of its Existence in Slovakia
  • Protagonists of National Populism
  • Defining the Character of the State
  • Interpretation of Select Historic Events
  • Future Prospects Regarding Activities of National Populists in Slovakia

Kálmán Petõcz: Slovakia since 2004 - National Populism and the Hungarian Issue
Slovakia's Entry to EU and NATO: a Turning Point

  • Parliamentary Elections in 2006: Deterioration of Slovak-Hungarian Relations
  • Change in SMK-MKP Leadership: New Ammunition for National Populists
  • Year 2008: Strengthening Slovak National Identity Leads to déja' vu of 1993-1998
  • Year 2009: Reaching the Historical Bottom or Hoping for Improvement?
  • Conclusion

Kálmán Petõcz: National Populism and Electoral Behaviour

  • Defining the Terms of Southern Slovakia, Ethnically Mixed Territory and Territory Inhabited by Ethnic Hungarians
  • Electoral Behaviour of Slovaks Living on Ethnically Mixed Territories
  • Comparison of Presidential Elections in 2009 and Parliamentary
  • Elections in 2006 in Southern Slovakia on the Level of Districts
  • Comparison of Presidential Elections in 2009 and 1999 on the Level of Districts
  • Comparison of Presidential Elections in 2009 and Parliamentary Elections in 2006 in Southern Slovakia on the Level of Municipalities
  • Electoral Behaviour Patterns of Slovaks from Micro-Regions in South-Western Slovakia
  • Electoral Behaviour Patterns of Slovaks from Micro-Regions in Central and Eastern Part of Southern Slovakia
  • Electoral Behaviour of Residents of Towns Located on Ethnically Mixed Territory
  • Electoral behaviour of ethnic Hungarians
  • Conclusion

Zsuzsanna Mészáros-Lampl: Magyars and Slovaks in Southern Slovakia - Exercising Language Rights

  • Dominant Communication Language
  • Family Communication in Respondents' Childhood
  • Family Communication Today
  • Extra-Family or Public Communication Today
  • Slovaks' Views Regarding Opportunities to Use their Native Language in Southern Slovakia
  • Discrimination and its Causes
  • Content

Zsolt Gál: Argentina on the Danube - Populist Economic Policy as the Biggest Enemy of Sustainable Economic Growth

  • Phenomenon of Populist Economic Policy
  • Total Ineffectiveness and Harmfulness of Populist Economic Policy in CEE Countries
  • Sources of Populism on the Demand Side: Voters' Rationality and Irrationality
  • Conclusion

Miroslav Kocúr: For God and Nation: Christian National Populism

  • National Populism and Christian Churches
  • Slovak Catholic Hierarchy and Some Concrete Causes
  • Tiso and the Slovak State
  • New Trnava Archbishop and his Reflection on Tiso's Attitudes
  • Hungarian Bishop
  • Celebrations of Constantine and Methodius and Concrete Double Crosses
  • Nationalization vs. Globalization
  • Religion and Politics
  • Globalization, Universalism and Christianity
  • Religious and National Identity - a Change in Paradigms
  • Final Observations and Proposed Solutions
  • Conclusion

László Öllös: Time for Hungarian-Slovak Dialogue (Conclusion)

  • Annex

Kálmán Petõcz: Most Frequent Stereotypes Concerning Slovak-Hungarian Relations Used in National Populist Rhetoric

  • Stereotype 1: Above-standard rights
  • Stereotype 2: Hungarian threat
  • Stereotype 3: Collaboration
  • Stereotype 4: Loyalty
  • Stereotype 5: Geographic names must be in state language
  • Stereotype 6: Reciprocity
  • Stereotype 7: Ethnic party is obsolete


Mária Vrabec: The Case of Hedviga Malinová - Chronology, Implications and Lessons

List of Abbreviations