Bratislava, Slovakia – “I’m not going anywhere”, Robert Fico said when he handed his resignation to President Andrej Kiska last March. Since then, the former Prime Minister indeed remained at the center of Slovak politics. Now, he might be planning his official come-back into government.
According to local Dennik N daily, Slovakia’s ex-PM and current leader of the ruling Smer party Robert Fico is eyeing the post of Foreign Minister.
Fico resigned earlier this year in the wake of the political crisis and mass protests triggered by the brutal murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee. A tactical retreat, according to most observers, that didn’t keep him from remaining as de facto leader of the country and from pulling the strings of government affairs – despite being replaced by Peter Pellegrini as Prime Minister of the Slovak government.
Miroslav Lajcak, the current Minister for European and Foreign Affairs, recently announced that if Slovakia decided to withdraw from the UN migration pact – a document that he helped draft – he would resign from his post. While Austria, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic hinted they would refuse to sign the document, Slovakia remains the only Visegrad Group member state that hasn’t made any official announcement yet and remains divided on the issue.
Lajcak and Fico have been at odds with each other regarding the UN Compact on Migration, with the latter openly criticizing it and the former slamming the politicking and spread of misinformation surrounding this non-binding international treaty to be signed next month in Morocco. Many oppositions parties urged the government not to sign the document, and the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Parliament recommended the same thing earlier this week.
Speaking to journalist after the committee’s session on Wednesday, Lajcak threatened to step down if Slovakia withdrew: “I have a vision for the Slovak Republic and I want to represent such a Slovak Republic abroad. If it takes the road of xenophobia, intolerance, it will need to find a different foreign minister”.
According to the Dennik N report, the idea that Fico might take the post of Foreign Minister has been under consideration well before Lajcak threatened to resign over the UN migration pact: according to the previous scenario, Fico was due to become Foreign Minister once Lajcak, slated as Smer’s top choice for presidential candidate in next year’s elections, was elected head of state. However, despite Smer’s attempt to persuade Lajcak to run for president, he repeatedly turned down the offer.