Center-left Smer emerge as winners in Slovak elections | News | DW | 10.03.2012
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Center-left Smer emerge as winners in Slovak elections

The center-left Smer-Social Democrats party appeared to be the winner of a parliamentary election in Slovakia on Saturday. The party is likely to need a partner if it is to push ahead with a largely populist agenda.

epa03134324 A cyclist passes by an election campaign poster showing the leader of the SMER Social Democracy party, Robert Fico, in Bratislava, Slovakia, 06 March 2012. According to latest surveys the SMER Social Democracy Party could gain up to 40 per cent of votes in the Slovak general elections which will take place on 10 March 2012. EPA/Peter Hudec +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++

Parlamentswahlen in der Slowakei

Slovakia's center-left Smer-Social Democrats party appeared to have won a parliamentary election on Saturday, with almost 40 percent of the vote, exit polls showed.

Although Smer, led by former Prime Minister Robert Fico, appeared to be easily the largest party, its chances of winning a stable outright majority appeared slim. A poll for Slovak state television by the Focus agency showed Smer in the lead with 39.6 percent of the vote, equivalent to 75 of the legislature's 150 seats. The center-right Christian Democrats (KDH) were in second place with 9.9 percent.

However, another survey by pollsters MVK showed Smer on 37.3 percent with just 69 seats. KDH was again placed second with 10.8 percent.

If unable to gain a majority, Fico would need to seek a coalition partner to form a majority cabinet.

"Slovakia needs a strong coalition government. I believe the official results will meet our expectations," Fico said after the vote.

The ex-premier is considered a populist leader, dedicated to maintaining a welfare state and advocating higher taxes for businesses and top earners.

The outgoing four-party ruling coalition - including the KDH and Slovak Democratic party - was expected to gain 31.4 percent of the vote, or 59 seats, following a major corruption scandal.

rc/ai (AFP, AP, dpa)