On September 30, 2023, Slovakia held snap parliamentary elections.
The Hungarian minority party, Alliance (Szövetség, in Hungarian) fell just 0.62 percent short of the five percent threshold needed to obtain representation in the Slovak Parliament. This is the second time since 2020 that the 450,000-strong Hungarian minority will not have direct representation at the national level.
Alliance, established in 2021 through the merger of three parties—Hungarian Community Party (MKP), Most-Híd party, and Hungarian Unity Party (MKÖ)—was formed to advocate for the interests of the Hungarian minority. High hopes were attached to the strategic partnership which achieved historic success at last year’s municipal elections held October 29, 2022.
Based on a survey of parliamentary elections conducted between November 2nd and 8th, for the first time since the establishment of the party, Alliance polled at 5.6 percent above the threshold needed to gain seats. If the trend had continued, the party could have joined the Slovak legislature with 10 seats in the current elections. Another more recent poll showed that Alliance had a realistic chance of crossing the parliamentary threshold: a survey published September 22, 2023, by the Polis Slovakia polling institute showed that the party had 5.4 percent support.
However, Alliance could not replicate the municipal elections’ results, garnering only 4.38 percent of the votes. 130,183 people voted for the party, needing around 20,000 additional votes to pass the threshold.
“We have achieved a historic result, but we have still not succeeded,” said Krisztián Forró, President of Alliance, highlighting that no Hungarian party in Slovakia has received as many votes since the united Hungarian Community Party (MKP) split over a decade ago. (See details below.)
Election results by county
Source: Slovak Statistical Office
Alliance won 3 counties: the Dunajska Streda/Dunaszerdahely district, the Komrano/Komárom district and the Rimavska Sobota/Rimaszombat district.
According to Forró, and the presidium of the party which met October 2, the failure is attributed to several factors. Namely, the turnout in heavily ethnic Hungarian-populated districts was lower than the national average, which was unparalleled in recent parliamentary elections. More than three million people voted, equating to a national turnout of 68.51 percent, making the minimum threshold harder to achieve. Forró also attributed the low numbers to some media coverage and polling forecasts that mischaracterized the Alliance’s (good) chances, thereby discouraging ethnic Hungarian turnout, as well as siphoning off votes.
“I see no other solution for our community to grow and prosper than to strengthen ethnic politics,” said Krisztián Forró. He added that the biggest challenge for the next period is to find a way to do so. A renewal congress will be held before the end of this year and then, with renewed vigor, the Alliance will continue to serve the people of southern and eastern Slovakia, where the Hungarian minority communities reside.
The SMER-SSD party, led by Robert Fico, secured victory with 22.94 percent of the vote, and is entrusted with forming a governing coalition. Considering the anti-Hungarian and anti-minority undertones prevalent in prior Fico administrations, it stands to be seen what sort of positions the new coalition will adopt.
In total, 7 parties won seats in the new Bratislava legislature. Fico’s SMER-SSD party won with 22.94 percent of the vote, followed by the liberal Progressive Slovakia (PS) with 17.96 percent, the HLAS (Voice) party with 14.7 percent. In addition to these, the OL’aNO and Friends, led by former Prime Minister Igor Matovic, won with 8.89 percent, the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) with 6.82 percent, the Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) with 6.32 percent and the Slovak National Party (SNS) with 5.62 percent.
Election results by party
In the previous 2020 parliamentary elections, the two predecessor parties of Alliance [Hungarian Unity Party (MKÖ) and Most-Híd] competed for seats in parliament but neither of them won any. This was the first election, in which no Hungarian minority party achieved the required 5 percent threshold. The Hungarian Unity Party (MKÖ) [which brought together the Coalition Movement (Összefogás mozgalom), the Hungarian Community Party (MKP) and the Hungarian Forum (Magyar Fórum) on a joint electoral list] won only 3.9% of the vote, with 112,662 votes. The Most-Híd [which merged with the Hungarian Unity Party (MKÖ) to form the Alliance in 2021] won even less, 2.05 percent of the vote, with 59,174 votes. Thus, comparing the 2020 results to the 2023 elections, the party representing the Hungarian minorities indeed achieved a better result.
Alliance won 54 seats at the county level, 12 more than previously. In 2017, during the previous elections, two of the predecessor parties of Alliance (Hungarian Community Party (MKP) and Most-Híd) won only 42 seats combined. Moreover, of the 263 mayoral positions won by the party, Alliance started to hold 222 offices independently, and 41 in coalition. Read more: https://hhrf.org
Photo: Alliance press conference, October 2. Source: Tibor Somogyi, https://ujszo.com/