ELECTIONS 2006

Smer wants to form the government; Dzurinda says SDKÚ, SMK and KDH would guarantee continuity

Commenting on the preliminary official results of yesterday's parliamentary elections in Slovakia, the leader of the winning Smer socialist party, Robert Fico, said he was ready to form the new government.

“The program we presented won significant support. I hope we manage to form a government that will carry out this program,” Fico said on June 18 after votes had been counted in 97.96 percent of precincts, showing over 29 percent support for his party.

Commenting on the preliminary official results of yesterday's parliamentary elections in Slovakia, the leader of the winning Smer socialist party, Robert Fico, said he was ready to form the new government.

“The program we presented won significant support. I hope we manage to form a government that will carry out this program,” Fico said on June 18 after votes had been counted in 97.96 percent of precincts, showing over 29 percent support for his party.

The result was higher than political analysts had expected, despite Smer's over-30 percent support in pre-election polls.

The prime minister and chairman of the second-place Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), Mikuláš Dzurinda, said his party together with its right-wing partners from the outgoing governing coalition - the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) and the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) - represented the strongest guarantee of continuity for Slovakia.

The SDKÚ won 18.35 percent of the vote, while the SMK took 11.68 percent and the KDH scored 8.31 percent. Combined, the right-wing parties have over 38 percent to the left-wing Smer's 29.

"Together we have solid strength, and I would like our to be effective and productive, because in that case our chance of ensuring political continuity will increase. It's important for Slovakia," Dzurinda told the SITA news wire.

The prime minister added that the best alternative for Slovakia would be if the SDKÚ KDH, and SMK continued in government together. Such a combination would likely require a fourth coalition partner, possibly the opposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), which scored a surprisingly low 8.79 percent, down from over 19 percent in 2002 elections.

"I want to try and achieve a good result," Dzurinda said of upcoming talks on post-election cooperation.

The results of the elections so far have Smer on top with 29.14 percent (good for 50 mandates in the 150-seat legislature) followed by the SDKÚ (18.35 percent, 31 mandates) the far-right Slovak National Party (11.73 percent, or 20 mandates), the SMK (11.68 percent, 20 mandates), the HZDS (8.79 percent, 15 mandates) and the KDH (8.31 percent, 14 mandates).

Not scoring over the 5 percent threshold for securing seats in parliament were the Communist Party (3.88 percent), the opposition Free Forum (3.47 percent), and ANO (1.42 percent). No other party scored over 1 percent.

Based on the mandates secured, and given that 76 seats are required to form a majority government, the following government combinations are among the most likely:

Smer+HZDS+SNS = 85 seats Smer+KDH+SMK = 84 seats Smer+KDH+SNS = 84 seats SDKU+Smer = 81 seats SDKU+KDH+SMK+HZDS = 80 seats

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