A centre-right coalition looks set to oust Slovakia’s leftist government, according to the results of Saturday’s elections.
Between them, four parties led by the conservative SDKU, claimed 79 out of the 150 seats up for grabs in parliament.
SDKU leader Iveta Radicova said that now the main challenge for Slovakia will be curbing the country’s growing debt, kick-starting the economy and trying to recover the mantle of the ‘tiger of Europe.’
The left-wing SMER party of Prime Minister Robert Fico did win the most votes on Saturday, backed by a third of the electorate. But with neither a majority nor any obvious partners it will struggle to return to power. The SDKU is set to team up with the Christian Democrat KDH, the liberal SaS and Most-Hid, which represents Slovakia’s ethnic-Hungarian minority.
As the leader of the biggest party, Fico will get first crack at forming a government, something which he said he will try to do. But with that outcome unlikely, Fico added that he was ready to go into opposition.
The eventual government will have to tackle a budget deficit that reached nearly seven percent of GDP last year. One widespread criticism of Fico’s government is that it squandered public funds with an over-ambitious welfare agenda.