A Slovak politician, known for wearing a Nazi-style uniform and calling Roma “parasites,” was elected to head one of eight regional governments in the eastern European country.
Marian Kotleba won 56 percent of the vote in the Banska Bytrica region, beating incumbent Vladimir Manka, a member of Prime Minister Robert Fico’s Smer party, according to results posted on the website of the Slovak Statistical Office. Smer party candidates won in six districts, while the opposition SDKU retained the post in Bratislava. Kotleba, 36, has praised Jozef Tiso, president of the Slovak fascist satellite state during World War II, a regime that sent tens of thousands of Jews to Nazi concentration camps. Originally a high school computer-science teacher, Kotleba has been repeatedly detained by police for supporting fascism and stirring racial hatred. Charges were later dropped. The economic slowdown in the second-poorest member of the euro area has helped fuel sentiment against its Roma population, which comprises about 7 percent of the country. Growth is projected to be 0.8 percent this year, rising to 2.2 percent in 2014, and the government may need to adopt further austerity measures to meet European Union deficit targets, the country’s Fiscal Responsibility Council said this month.
Thank goodness that the adoption of the single currency is stopping Europe from slipping back into its bad old ways!