Bratislava, Slovakia – Earlier this week, the country’s highest court rejected a bid to ban the Slovak far-right People’s Party our Slovakia (ĽSNS).
Two years ago, a request was filed by general prosecutor Jaromír Čižnár saying Marian Kotleba’s far-right, neo-Nazi movement, which currently holds 14 seats in parliament, was an extremist group whose activities violated the Slovak constitution and was aiming to undermine the country’s democratic system.
On Monday, Slovakia’s Constitutional Court rejected the request, saying the prosecutor had failed to provide enough evidence.
A former governor of the Banska Bystrica region who rose to the front-scene of Slovak politics in recent years, Marian Kotleba and his supporters call for Slovakia to leave the EU and NATO, openly admire Slovakia’s war-time and Nazi puppet leader Jozef Tiso and advocate the expulsion of the country’s sizable Roma population.
Kotleba’s previous party, the Slovak Brotherhood (Slovenská pospolitosť – národná strana), was banned by the highest court in 2006. But its successor, People’s Party our Slovakia is not a fringe party anymore, and has cemented its place at the heart of Slovak politics.
Previously known for the marches it held throughout Slovakia with members dressed in neo-Nazi uniforms, ĽSNS now counts 14 MP’s in Slovak Parliament, while Marian Kotleba finished fourth in last month’s presidential election, with more than 10% of the votes. In a recent Focus agency poll, ĽSNS came out as the second strongest party ahead of the upcoming European elections (12.9%) and is particularly popular among young voters, according to recent surveys.
The court’s recent decision “is certainly a boost for the party”, argued analyst Grigorij Meseznikov. “The Supreme Court proved them right to claim they’re a standard part of the political system”.
A number of anti-fascist organisations have decided to hold a protest on SNP Square in Bratislava tomorrow to contest the ruling.
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