Political party “Smer” – in between “pragmatism” and social democracy  Cover Image

Fenomén strany Smer: medzi „pragmatizmom“ a sociálnou demokraciou
Political party “Smer” – in between “pragmatism” and social democracy

Author(s): Juraj Marušiak
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: Mezinárodní politologický ústav Masarykovy univerzity v Brně

Summary/Abstract: The article analyses the evolution of the Slovak political party „Smer“ (Direction) and its position in the party system of Slovak Republic. The article focuses on the shift of the party program from the „Centrist Populism“ towards „Social Democracy.“ According to the first program documents the Party of „Smer“ (Direction) was designed as pragmatic, nonideological party. In the persistent conflict between authoritarianism vs. democracy “Smer” identified itself as the pro-democratic and pro-market force. Party policy before 2002 contained only few social democratic components; it was closer to the conservative or right-wing populist parties. After the parliamentary election 2002 and the failure of non-communist left “Smer” decided to become a member of the Socialist International (SI) and Party of European Socialists (PES). The process of the institutional approach to the international Social Democratic Party structures was accompanied by the substantial changes in the social and economic program of the party. The process was completed on the institutional level in May 2005, when Smer joined both SI and PES, and on the level of political program on the Party Congress in December 2005. In the process of so called “socialdemocratisation” of “Smer” the international factor played crucial role, especially the need to have an international partner in the European Parliament. “Smer” met the standards of the Social Democratic identity only in the social and economic affairs. The other five dimensions – environmental policy, participative democracy, cultural and human-rights dimension, supra-national dimension and the dimension of equality and freedom “Smer” met only partially or not at all, so these process remains unfinished. According to some political declarations „Smer“ remains the populist party and the uncompromising critic of the right-wing government of Mikuláš Dzurinda, on the other side the official documents of the party anticipate only the moderate corrections of the economical and social reforms, implemented by the present Slovak government.

  • Issue Year: VIII/2006
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 19-55
  • Page Count: 37
  • Language: Czech