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Slovakia swears in coalition government

March 23, 2016

A coalition government comprising an ethnic minority party and an ultra-nationalist faction has been sworn in by the Slovak president. The unlikely alliance must survive a confidence vote in parliament to govern.

Chairmen of the government's four political parties sign the coalition agreement
Image: picture-alliance/CTK Photo/M. Mikula

Slovak President Andrej Kiska on Wednesday appointed Robert Fico as prime minister to lead a new coalition government following his leftist Smer-Social Democracy's victory in elections earlier this month.

Fico was sworn in along with the new government, comprising three other parties, including the ultra-nationalist Slovak National Party and the center-right Net party. Another party representing the country's ethnic Hungarian minority may prove a difficult coalition partner with the nationalist party.

The Smer-Social Democracy party claimed 28.4 percent of the vote on March 5, the largest share of of any party.

However, the poll showed Fico's party lost a significant amount of support compared to the 2012 elections, in which Smer-Social Democracy garnered 44.4 percent of the popular vote.

The four-party coalition government holds 81 seats in parliament, and needs to survive a confidence vote within 30 days to continue ruling. The Smer-Social Democracy will hold eight other posts, including the foreign, finance and interior ministries.

Last week, the parties "drafted the pillars of the coalition agreement," with Fico saying he hopes it "will lead to a stable and functional government and parliament."

"A demanding EU presidency is ahead of us," the prime minister said. Slovakia is set to assume the EU presidency in May.

Prime Minister Robert Fico campaigned on an anti-migrant platform
Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico campaigned on an anti-migrant platformImage: picture-alliance/dpa/T. Roge

ls/jr (AP, Reuters)