Socialist Worker

International news round-up

Issue No. 2494

Nazi breakthrough in Slovak election

Fascists and the racist right made big gains in Slovakia’s general election last Saturday. The Direction—Social Democracy party lost their ruling majority.

The election comes as Slovakia prepares to take over European Union (EU) presidency.

The Social Democrats plummeted from 44.4 percent in the 2012 general election to 28.3 percent. Their promise of moderating the free market was based on being part of a “social” EU.

But Slovakia’s export-driven economy is tied to Germany and the EU austerity drive.

With their project tanking, the Social Democrats turned to the right.

Prime minister Robert Fico talked of protecting the “traditional family”. He then refused to take in any refugees and whipped up racism.

On an already existing bedrock of anti-Roma racism, this paved the way for the Nazis to win seats for the first time.

The fascist People’s Party—Our Slovakia saw its vote shoot up from 1.8 percent in the 2012 general election to 8 percent.

They will have a commanding stake in choosing the next coalition along with the racist Slovak National Party.

Tomáš Tengely-Evans

New French employment law faces fightback

Workers and students across France were set to strike and protest this Wednesday against a new employment law that would steamroller workplace rights.

It will help bosses make workers do longer hours—despite an unemployment rate of over 10 percent.

They wouldn’t have to pay for this extra work for up to three years. Many workers could work almost double the nominal 35-hour week.

The reform would also make it easier and cheaper to lay workers off.

More than a million people have signed a petition against the law. And 140,000 have joined an event page on Facebook calling for a general strike.

Wednesday’s protests were called by student organisations and are now backed by some unions. Schools and colleges face occupations.

Strikes have been called including on the railways, Paris buses, Peugeot factories, parts of the public sector and Air France.

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