Jostling in full swing following deadlocked Slovak election

By bne IntelliNews March 8, 2016

Slovakia’s Freedom and Solidarity party (SaS), which came second in the March 5 general elections, announced on March 8 it has unofficially started negotiations over a coalition with five other parties which made it to the parliament.

Slovakia’s elections ended inconclusively after ruling Smer, led by Prime Minister Robert Fico, managed to grab only 28.3% of the votes, less than previously estimated by opinion polls. The result leaves Fico needing at least two partners to form a government. On March 7, president Andrej Kiska offered him the opportunity to form a coalition.

Smer appears to face a choice of teaming up either with a range of centre-right parties or the pair of far-right groups that won seats in the vote. However, Fico is reported to have delayed a meeting with Kiska to receive the mandate to March 9.

In the meantime, the president has been meeting with other party leaders. SaS leader Richard Sulik sys he has started discussions with Ordinary People-NOVA (OLaNO-NOVA), Most-Hid, Siet, the Slovak National Party (SNS) and We Are Family-Boris Kollar, according to TASR news agency.

Sulik, who was busy today expanding on his anti-migrant stance in similar vein to Fico - a tactic seen as boosting support for the far-right rather than Smer in the vote - expressed his conviction that the parties will be able to find a compromise and work together for a full four-year electoral term. He added that should Fico succeed in forming an administration, he will respect that.

However, the six parties are likely to find it difficult to find a common stance and stay united, given the wide differences between the nationalist SNS and Most-Hid, a party that represents the interests of Slovak Hungarians. Sulik said he is ready to act as a mediator between the two parties if necessary.

“If I get a mandate from the president I want to create a broad stable coalition with 87 deputies,” Sulik said, according to Bloomberg. The Slovak parliament is made up of 150 MPs.

However, SNS chairman Andrej Danko said on March 8 his party's negotiations will remain exclusively with Fico for the time being. "As of today we'll negotiate only with the leader who accepts the president's mandate to form a government," Danko said, according to Reuters. SNS obtained 8.6% of the vote, which will entitle it to 15 seats. 

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