With the parliamentary election campaigns in full swing in Slovakia, POLITICO dissects Robert Fico’s strategy of winning a third term as Prime Minister. Slovakia is hardly a desired destinations for migrants arriving in the EU; nor is it the most affected transit hub. Fico is nevertheless using the refugee crisis and his self-proclaimed image of the protector of Slovakia against the terrorist threat and chaos to boost his rankings. Although according to the polls Slovaks are more concerned about unemployment, the economy, health care and the cost of living, Fico has managed to say close to nothing about his plans to deal with these issues and instead diverted attention to the refugee issue. His skillful play on the unfounded fears of the people who are historically unaccustomed to migration and have rather controversial experience with national minority has already resulted in SMER’s gaining 7 percentage points in polls in the second half of 2015. If the trend is converted to votes, Fico’s affiliates will be able to form a single-party government. The effects of the anti-immigrant trick might, however, abate sooner than Fico have hoped. “Fico loves to position himself as a defender of the country against external threats,” said CEPI’s Director Milan Nič. “When you look at the polls it worked, but people are already tired of it.

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