Support for ruling Smer drops ahead of Slovak elections

By bne IntelliNews February 4, 2016

Support for Slovakia’s ruling Smer party has declined amid protests in the education and healthcare sectors, according to a poll released on February 4. The survey may be bad news for the party, coming just one month before the general election at which it is pushing to win a second single-party majority.

Support for the left-leaning party stands at 32.1%, according to the survey carried out by MVK agency. That would see Smer gain 58 of the 150 seats in parliament, TASR news agency reports.

The result suggests that Smer will likely need a coalition partner after the March 5 election to form a government. After losing ground in 2014 due to scandals connected to corruption in the health system, Prime Minister Robert Fico had revived support in recent months by focusing his campaign almost solely on his populist stance on the migrant crisis.

Polls late last year suggested Smer was close to gaining enough votes to secure another majority. However, protests in the healthcare and education systems appear to have reminded voters of previous complaints.

A poll carried out by Focus news agency showed on February 4 that 51.7% of Slovaks support the teachers strike. Even worse for Smer is the finding that over 60% support the mass resignation protest carried out by nurses, according to the centre-right Sme daily.

According to the MVK polls, the hard right Slovak National Party (SNS), which is seen as the most likely partner for Smer should it need to form a coalition, would come in third with 10.1% of votes, which would hand it 18 Seats. Anti-corruption party Siet is the second most popular in the country, but would gain no more than 27 seats.

The centre-right Christian Democrat Party (KDH) comes in fourth with 8.2% backing (15 seats) followed by Most-Hid, a party that represents the interests of Slovak Hungarians, with 6% support (11 seats) and the Ordinary people – Nova with 5.9% backing (11 seats). The Hungarian Community Party (SMK) is the other likely to cross the threshold to enter  parliament and stands to gain 10 seats should the poll prove accurate.

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