Ľuboš Blaha, the newly elected deputy speaker of parliament in Slovakia, is beginning his tenure with some symbolic and controversial gestures.
Showing his stance on the European Union, Blaha removed the EU flag from his parliamentary office, replacing it with a Slovakian flag.
He also moved a portrait of President Zuzana Čaputová into a wardrobe while he put up one of Che Guevara instead.
He published his moves in a video on Telegram.
“Venceremos” (We Will Win), he added, referring to a Chilean song composed by Sergio Ortega for the 1970 election campaign of Salvador Allende.
Ľuboš Blaha (the new deputy speaker of the Slovak parliament) removed the EU flag from his office
He also decided that a portrait of Che Guevara would look better on the wall instead of the portrait of the country's president. pic.twitter.com/cAVyEiMLGs
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) November 3, 2023
Blaha is a left-wing populist and anti-capitalist. From 2004 to 2006, he worked for the Communist Party of Slovakia.
He is a supporter of authoritarian regimes, such as those run by the late leaders Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Fidel Castro in Cuba as well as former leader Evo Morales’ regime in Bolivia.
Blaha is highly critical of the EU and considers the bloc a neo-liberal and elitist project.
His ideology has also led him to criticise US foreign policy and defend Russia. That is in line with his current party, the Socialist SMER Party of newly re-elected Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico.
It is an ideology shared by many far-left supporters in Slovakia.
Others are not so pleased. His video antics spurred Christian Democratic Movement MPs to gather signatures in reaction and start a debate over Blaha’s position as deputy speaker.
MPs from Slovensko (formerly OěaNO) will back a special session aimed at securing his dismissal from the role.
Igor Matovič, a former prime minister and leader of Slovensko, stated: “He should never have become the deputy speaker of the parliament.
“His status is unfortunate for the parliament.”