Culture & Society Czech Republic News Poland Politics & International Slovakia

Slovakia’s Smer, Czech EU scepticism, Poland’s catechism… What’s new?

Didn’t have time to read the news lately? Kafkadesk’s got you covered. Here’s our recap of what’s been going on: Rough times ahead for Slovakia’s ruling Smer party, the Czech Republic’s long-standing Euroscepticism and Catholic catechism classes in Poland.

Slovak ruling party faces strong drop in polls after presidential defeat

According to a Focus Research poll mapping out the population’s preference in political parties, Slovakia’s ruling Smer-SD is losing ground and facing a sharp drop in popularity, sinking for the first time below 20%: although still the most popular party, Smer would only win the support of 19% of the population if elections were held today, a 3.2 percentage points drop compared to March, one month after its nominee Maros Sefcovic lost the presidential election.

Meanwhile, support for the coalition between Progressive Slovakia (the former party of president-elect Zuzana Caputova) and Spolu comes second in voting intentions at 13.4%, compared to 9% in March. The far-right People’s Party Our Slovakia (LSNS) and nationalist and conservative Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party came in third and fourth with 10.5% and 10.1% of voting preferences, respectively.

Outgoing president and Slovakia’s most popular politician Andrej Kiska, who recently announced he would form a new political party after officially stepping down in June, remains a wild card in the game as Slovakia’s political scene and power dynamics face a major upheaval following the shock-victory of anti-corruption activist and government critic Zuzana Caputova.

Czechs predominantly in favour of the EU

Czechs have long been typecast as one of the most Eurosceptic nations in the EU, usually only surpassed by their British and Greek counterparts in terms of distrust towards Brussels. But according to a recent poll carried out by the Median agency for Czech public radio, more than 60% of Czechs have a positive opinion of their country joining the EU fifteen years ago.

Among the main benefits of EU membership, Czech respondents cite the ease to find work abroad, as well as the freedom of movement and suppression of visas and border checks. Only 30% of respondents expressed a negative opinion about the Czech Republic’s EU membership.

Catechism: Poland heads on increasingly secular path

According to an IPB poll, 50% of the population in Poland believe religion (mainly Catholic catechism classes run by the church) should not be taught at school, compared to 38% who think it should. 12% of respondents said that they had no particular opinion on the topic. This confirms previous results of an Ipsos poll for OKO.Press from February, which found that more than half of respondents (52%) said that religion classes should only be held in the church, compared to 43% who were of the opinion it should still be taught at school.

A growing number of opposition political parties, including Razem and Robert Biedron‘s newly-launched Wiosna, advocate putting an end to the public funding and use of taxpayers’ money to finance Catholic catechism in schools. Although Poland remains one of the most devout nations in Europe, support for the Catholic Church has been dented in recent years amid allegations of widespread corruption, mounting pressure over sexual abuse scandals and weariness regarding the clergy’s proximity to and influence over the ruling Law and Justice party.