Matovic: Time Has Come to Offer Helping Hand to SMK Party

OLaNO leader Igor Matovic. (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava, November 18 (TASR) – The time has come to extend a helping hand to (non-parliamentary) ethnic-Hungarian SMK party and, through the party, also to inhabitants of southern Slovakia [ethnic Hungarian region], opposition OLaNO leader Igor Matovic told TASR on Saturday.

Earlier in the week, during the Dennik N discussion Matovic declared that OLaNO party would be “okay” with forging an election coalition with SMK, headed by Jozsef Menyhart [a dig at Bela Bugar’s ethnic-reconciliation Most-Hid party, which came into existence as a splinter faction of SMK and now serves in the Government. Both Most-Hid and SMK compete for the same voters – ed.note].

OLaNO has been engaged in close cooperation with NOVA party of Daniel Lipsic and Bottom Up Change of Jan Budaj. “Seeing as SMK voters in [November 4] regional election unequivocally demonstrated that they won’t support any cooperation with parties involved in the Government hodgepodge, the time has come to start serious talks also with this party [SMK], representing ethnic Hungarians, about creating a better alternative for post-Robert Fico [Smer-SD] Slovakia,” said Matovic.

Matovic also stated that if ethnic Hungarians hadn’t joined “the good side of the fight” back in 1998 [general election], Slovakia would have never gotten rid of the Vladimir Meciar’s government [1994-98]. “The same situation holds true today. The corrupted evil that is governing us can be extirpated only if we prove that we care about people of southern Slovakia. SMK has changed. Recently, they expelled from their election slate a person who was raving on billboards about autonomy and they have a new progressive leadership,” he told TASR.

Matovic is also aware that he might be unacceptable for some SMK voters, as he stood in the way of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s effort to bestow automatically Hungarian citizenship to all ethnic Hungarians living in Slovakia. “On the other hand, I know that SMK voters appreciated my gesture when I offered altruistic help to SMK in the situation, when Smer-SD wanted to kill the candidacy of Gyula Bardos in the [2014] presidential election,” he claimed, adding that ethnic Hungarians wouldn’t benefit from Orban’s passport on their shelves but rather from good schools, jobs and hospitals in southern Slovakia.

Matovic also stated that by longstanding attacks against and slandering of SMK, Most-Hid leader Bela Bugar wanted to isolate SMK into ‘the corner like some scabby dog” no one would wish to be affiliated with. “He hasn’t succeeded in that, however. Ethnic Hungarians today know that Bugar’s Most-Hid is nothing but a special interest project and they are abandoning Most-Hid in droves,” he concluded.