Democratic and Christian Union – Democratic Party (SDKU-KS). The SDKU-DS has historically tended to be the largest of Slovakia’s centre-right parties. Created from the Slovak Democratic Coalition in 1998 it ruled until 2006 despite being the second largest party in parliament behind Vladimir Meciar’s Movement for a Democratic Slovakia.
The SDKU-DS is a fairly typical Eastern European centre-right liberal-conservative party. It has tended to be a deeply reformist party, which prioritises privatisations, market reforms and balanced budgets to get Slovakia’s economy going. It views low taxes as a necessity, and created a 19% flat tax in power. The party is an unbending critic of Smer, whose policies it sees as irresponsible, unsustainable and populist.
The party is one of Slovakia’s most pro-European parties too.
The party led the short-lived fragmented coalition of 2010-2, under Slovakia’s first female premier Iveta Radicova. The party subsequently collapsed to fifth place, and it no longer enjoys the de facto leadership of the splintered opposition to Fico.
This is primarily due to corruption scandals from its first period in office, some of which have only just come to light. In particular, the ‘Gorilla’ scandal, which revealed that millions of bribes had been involved in large-scale privatisations under the SDKU-DS was particularly damaging. This damaged the credibility of the SDKU-DS enormously.
The party is a member of the European People’s Party, along with three other Slovak parties. SDKU-DS is both the most loyal party to the EPP in Slovakia, and amongst all European parties, voting alongside the EPP at a stunning rate of 99.6% of the time. Only the German Greens maintain a higher loyalty to their group (one in which they tend to provide leadership).