Anti-migrant Fico wins Slovakia's election, neo-Nazis gain seats

ASSOCIATED PRESS
BRATISLAVA
Published

The leftist ruling party has won the parliamentary election in Slovakia, after campaigning on an anti-migrant ticket, but will need coalition partners to form a majority government, according to results announced yesterday. In a surprising development, a neo-Nazi party gained parliamentary seats for the first time.

With the votes from 99.9 percent of the almost 6,000 polling stations counted by the Statistics Office Sunday, the Smer-Social Democracy party of Prime Minister Robert Fico is the winner with 28.3 percent of the vote, or 49 seats in the 150-seat Parliament. That represents a significant drop in support from the 2012 election when Smer took 44.4 percent and was able to govern alone.

Fico favors a strong state role in the economy, has been critical of Western sanctions against Russia and is known for strong anti-Muslim rhetoric. The pro-business Freedom and Solidarity became the second strongest party with 12.1 percent, or 21 seats. Most notably, the neo-Nazi People's Party - Our Slovakia, got 8 percent, or 14 seats.

Party chairman Marian Kotleba was chairman of the banned neo-Nazi Slovak Togetherness-National Party. The party says NATO is a terrorist organization and keeps attacking the European Union and Europe's common currency, the euro, which Slovakia uses.

Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak said that after Kotleba's success "the perception of Slovakia in Europe will be complicated. We have elected a fascist to Parliament."

Fico said it is his duty as the winner to create a meaningful government. Tough negotiations are expected at a time when Slovakia is getting ready to take over the rotating presidency of the European Union for the second half of 2016. "The formation of the government will take longer than before," Fico said.

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