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Slovakia - General Elections

The Prime Minister's party takes the lead but the opposition is about to form the next government coalition

The Prime Minister's party takes the lead but the opposition is about to form the next government coalition

14/06/2010 - Results

The party of outgoing Prime Minister Robert Fico, Direction-Social Democracy (SMER-SD) came out ahead in the general elections on 12th June in Slovakia. He won 34.79% of the vote and 62 seats, i.e. +12 in comparison with the previous general elections on 17th June 2006. The National Slovak Party (SNS) led by Jan Slota, another party in the outgoing government, won 5.07% of the vote (9 seats, -11); as for the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (LU-HZDS), led by former Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, (1993-1998), partner of the latter two parties in government, it failed to rise above the 5% threshold of votes necessary to be represented in the National Council of the Republic. It won 4.32% of the vote and thereby lost its 15 seats. Together SMER-SD and the SNS won 71 of the 150 seats in Parliament, i.e. four short of the absolute majority.
The main opposition party the Democratic and Christian Union-Democratic Party (SDKU-DS) led by Iveta Radicova won 15.42% of the vote (28 seats). It was followed by Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) a party created by Richard Sulik, 12.14% of the vote (22 seats), the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) led by Jan Figel, 8.52% of the vote (15 seats +1) and Most-Hid (Bridge), a new party representing the ethnic minorities led by Bela Bugar, 8.12% and 14 seats. Together these four parties have 79 seats in Parliament i.e. the absolute majority. Finally the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK), chaired by Pal Csaky is one of the losers in these general elections. He won 4.33% of the vote and is therefore excluded from parliament losing the 20 seats the party had previously.
It was pleasing to see a high turnout rate, an event that had become rare over the last few years. 58.83% of Slovaks turned out to ballot i.e. +4.13 points in comparison with the previous election on 17th June 2006.

"Change is to hand. The citizens have shown their determination and they have opted for the route of responsibility, for a route that will ensure a solution to the country's main problems. The main task ahead is to succeed in preventing any further increase in the public debt. Please let me say that I want Slovakia to be qualified once more as a "tiger of Europe" said SKDU-DS leader Iveta Radicova when the results were announced.
"A vital change is occurring in Slovakia and this will emerge in all political areas," stressed Public Affairs director, Grigorij Meseznikov who added that this result marked "a return to the path taken in 1998 which led to Slovakia's accession to the European Union and to NATO and the adoption of in-depth reform." "It is the final point that heralds the end of an abnormal development since the birth of a coalition in 2006 comprising populists and radical nationalists," concluded the political expert. "Any type of alliance is better than a government with Robert Fico," declared Freedom and Solidarity leader, Richard Sulik who said he was prepared to join forces with as many parties as necessary to form a parliamentary majority.

Outgoing Prime Minister Robert Fico was quick however to employ the words "absolute success" to describe the result of his party and that of his allies. The outgoing Head of Government said that the SMER-SD score, which came out first in the election, gave him the right to form a government. "This result enables us to accept the task given to us by the President of the Republic to form a government. We are ready. It is difficult to forecast what will happen now. If we fail we shall respect a rightwing government and we shall form a tenacious, clear and energetic opposition that is ready to counter any text that aims to modify the labour or social protection laws," he declared. Speaking of the four opposition parties – SKDU-DS, Freedom and Solidarity, KDH and Most-Hid – which might come together to form the next government, Robert Fico indicated: "This conglomerate has no chance of survival." "Robert Fico will try to attract the other parties but the gap has become so wide over the last few weeks that he has practically no chance of succeeding," stressed political expert Samuel Abraham. On 13th June President of the Republic, Ivan Gasparovic, close to the outgoing Prime Minister asked him to form the future government. "There are several political possibilities, but I want to ask the winner of the elections to form the government. I am convinced that the party credited the greatest support of the electorate deserves this chance," indicated the Head of State.
"I feel like crying, I am very sad for the Slovaks," declared nationalist leader, Jan Slota on TV channel TA3. "If a Hungarian party enters government there will be political autonomy in the south of Slovakia during this mandate," he said.

Born in 1956 in Bratislava, Iveta Radicova, a sociologist, was Labour, Social Affairs and Family Minister between 2005 and 2006 in the government led by Mikulas Dzurinda (SDKU). Elected MP during the general elections on 17th June 2006 she chose to give up her seat after being criticised for having voted in Parliament in the place of absent MP Tatiana Rosova. "I made a mistake and the only way of clearing myself is to give up my seat," she declared at the time. In 2009 she stood for the opposition in the presidential election (21st March and 4th April) and although she lost she achieved an honourable score in the 2nd round (44.46%) when she faced outgoing Head of State Ivan Gasparovic who was re-elected to his post winning 55.53% of the vote. In February 2010 she was elected to lead the SDKU-DS replacing former Prime Minister (1998-2006) Mikulas Dzurinda. After becoming the first woman sociologist in her country Iveta Radicova may very well become its first woman Prime Minister.

The Slovak general elections results are very similar to the ones produced by the election in neighbouring Czech Republic two weeks ago (28th and 29th May). Although the social-democrats came out ahead in the elections, the rightwing, in spite of being fragmented, finally won the election. Like their Czech neighbours the Slovaks chose to trust the new parties. Like them they have cast doubt over the generous social policy put forward by the social democrats at a time when all of Europe is adopting austerity policies.

Source : Internet Site of the National Slovak Statistics Office
Publishing Director: Pascale JOANNIN