Centre-right parties agree to talk with Smer on forming Slovak coalition

By bne IntelliNews March 13, 2016

Smer has taken a step towards building a Slovak coalition by securing the agreement of three centre-right parties to join negotiation, local media reported on March 13. 

The news comes with Smer having just under a week to form a government. The party won the March 5 elections, but failed to get enough votes to form a second government on its own.

The 28.3% support in the vote saw Smer secure no more than 49 of the 150 seats in parliament. The party now needs at least two coalition partners to form a majority. Prime Minister Robert Fico has been handed a 10-day deadline to form a government by President Andrej Kiska. That left it facing a choice between trying to build bridges with parties from the fractured centre-right opposition, or joining up with two far-right parties that surprised by winning seats.

Meanwhile, the nationalist and eurosceptic Freedom and Solidarity party (SaS), which came in behind Smer in the vote, has announced it has unofficially started negotiations over an alternative coalition with five of the other parties that made it to the parliament.

Most-Hid, a party that represents the interests of Slovak Hungarians and which won 6.5% of the votes in the election and consequently 11 seats in the new parliament, now says it is ready to talk with Smer. The centre-right Siet, once considered Smer’s prime challenger but eventaully taking just 10 seats in the vote, also says it will hold talks with Smer if invited.

“If Smer believes that a stable government is necessary, we'll assume that it will approach all standard political parties, and if we're invited, we'll attend the talks," Most-Hid head Bela Bugar said on March 12, according to TASR news agency. Siet vice-chairman Andrej Hrnciar also announed his party's standing.

The move came shortly after the far-right Slovak National Party (SNS) had refused to be part of the SaS coalition. "So far, only Smer and SNS have shown the political ability to hold talks," SNS chairman Andrej Danko said.

Only those two parties are likely to guarantee a stable government, the SNS leader admitted. However, at the same time, Danko claims it would be a waste of time to create hybrid coalitions composed of entities that barely know each other. Smer's leader and current PM Robert Fico has criticised claims that a caretaker administration should be appointed in the wake of the deadlocked election, and a new vote held after Slovakia's presidency of the EU, which starts in July.

According to Danko, certain parties that are a mere product of rebellion and despair, at the same time lacking proper programmes, have made it into parliament in the last week's general election. "These parties want to assume responsibility for the country, but they don't know what to do with it," Danko said.

The far-right leader appeared to be launching an attack on the neo-nazi Or Slovakia, which shocked the country and the international community by winning 14 seats in the new parliament.


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