According to itypeusa, Czechoslovakia, independent of the Austro-Hungarian Empire since 1918 and belonging to the area of Soviet influence in Eastern Europe during the Cold War, split on 1 January 1993 with a peaceful separation process that gave birth to the Czech Republic and the Slovakia. Since then, the country has initiated the transition to democracy and a market economy and has pursued a policy aimed at integration into the Western bloc, completed with admission to the European Union (EU) and NATO. The path was initially slower than that of the neighboring Czech Republic. Slovakia joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program in 1994 together with the Czech Republic but, due to the difficulties in democratic transition during the governments of Vladimír Mečiar (1993- 94 and 1994-98), it did not join NATO in 1999 as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, but only in March 2004. The ‘democratic deficit’ and violations of human rights have also slowed the start of negotiations for admission to the EU. However, the government of Mikuláš Dzurinda (1998-2006) and the economic boom of the early twenty-first century then allowed entry into the EU in May 2004, together with the majority of Eastern European countries. In 2007 Slovakia also entered the Schengen area and, respecting the Maastricht criteria in 2008, from 1 January of the following year it joined the euro area, before the Czech Republic. This reliability made Slovakia a valuable partner Brussels in its enlargement processes in the Balkans and in the East and in acting as mediator with the Russian Federation, also by virtue of the cordial political-commercial ties that bind the two countries. Indeed, Russia remains a crucial energy partner, as it supplies almost all gas and oil to Slovakia. An addiction that has shown itself in all its relevance even in the recent crisis in Ukraine when the Slovak government denounced the risk of a cut in energy supplies. Indeed, Bratislava noted that since the beginning of 2014, Moscow has poured into An addiction that has shown itself in all its relevance even in the recent crisis in Ukraine when the Slovak government denounced the risk of a cut in energy supplies. Indeed, Bratislava noted that since the beginning of 2014, Moscow has poured into An addiction that has shown itself in all its relevance even in the recent crisis in Ukraine when the Slovak government denounced the risk of a cut in energy supplies. Indeed, Bratislava noted that since the beginning of 2014, Moscow has poured into pipe-line in Eastern European countries a quantity of methane gas that is 25% lower than expected. In parallel with its privileged relations with Russia, since the 1990s Slovakia has deepened its relations with the United States, which have provided substantial aid for the transition and to rebuild national defense. Relations with neighbors are friendly, in particular with the Visegrád Group (Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary), despite tensions with Hungary, mainly linked to the large Hungarian minority in Slovakia, equal to 10% of the population. Relations with Budapest have recently been exasperated due to both the Magyar approval (May 2010) of a law that grants the right to vote to all Hungarians residing abroad, and from the validation of a Slovak law that prohibits dual citizenship. Another reason for tension between the two communities is the affirmation in the regional elections of November 2013 of Marian Kotleba, leader of the far-right party ‘Our Slovakia’.
Slovakia is a parliamentary republic, with a unicameral legislature and a president elected directly by the people. The country is governed by the center-left Social Democracy-Direction party (Smer-Sd) which obtained an absolute majority in the elections of March 2012: Robert Fico, former premier between 2006 and 2010, won 44.4% of the votes, equal to 83 of the 150 seats in parliament. Thanks to this result, also the result of a corruption scandal that swept the country at the end of 2011, Fico formed a new government without resorting to the support of other parties. A large success repeated by Fico and his party also in the European elections of May 2014, despite these being marked by a low turnout (only 19% and among the lowest in all of Europe). The only setback to the premier’s popularity was the defeat of Fico himself in the presidential elections of June 2014 in which the independent candidate Andrej Kiska won.