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Slovak PM faces tall order to return to power

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Slovak PM faces tall order to return to power


Slovakia’s prime minister will try to form a new government after Saturday’s elections but his efforts look likely to be in vain.

Tradition dictates that as leader of the party that won the most votes, Robert Fico gets first go at putting together a coalition. Slovakia’s president has already invited him to do so.

Fico told a press conference that he would try to forge a two-party coalition. But he conceded that if that didn’t work, he would accept entering into opposition against a ruling coalition of right wing parties.

But the numbers don’t bode well for Fico’s centre-left Social Democrats, even if they won the vote count convincingly. Around a third of the electorate backed the SMER but that translates into just 62 out of 150 seats. Even with the support of their current coalition partners, the Slovak National Party, they would still have just 71 seats, five short of a majority.

Four centre-right opposition parties between them have 79 seats. All have said they won’t work with Fico and unless he pulls off an impressive political coup, they now look set to form a coalition government themselves.

That is likely to be led by the conservative SDKU. Party leader Iveta Radicova has thanked voters and said that such a result, which she called a ‘miracle’, did not seem possible just weeks ago.

She is now tipped to become Slovakia’s first female prime minister. Her party campaigned on a pledge to reduce the country’s debt and get the eurozone’s poorest economy back on track.

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