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Fico unveils potential post-election coalitions

Robert Fico, the chairman of the Smer party that won parliamentary elections on June 17 with close to 30 percent of the vote has proposed three possible variants for a post-election ruling coalition.

According to Fico, Smer could form a coalition with the Christian Democrats (KDH) and the Slovak National Party (SNS); with the KDH and the ethnic Hungarian SMK; or with the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) and the SNS.

"If Smer is commissioned to form a government by President Ivan Gasparovic, it will begin discussions with all the political parties concerned," Fico told the TASR news wire.

Smer's priority remains the pursuit of the leftist program with which it gained the trust of voters.

"We will not go into government to pursue a rightist program," Fico said, noting at the same time that the other five parties who had won seats in parliament were right of center on the political spectrum.

"We need to negotiate and to look for a solution", he said.

Fico stressed that Smer will not do anything to put the country's economic growth in danger. He said he expected a heated debate on taxes, as his party will not back down from its plans to introduce differentiated VAT rates and similar measures.

Meanwhile, SDKÚ Chairman and Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda said that his party was not in a position to call the shots.

"Someone else will deal the cards. It's possible to form the government without negotiating with our (SDKÚ) party," Dzurinda told journalists.

Dzurinda refused to speculate about possible coalitions involving the SDKÚ party. According to him, Slovakia's future will be shaped by two options: continuity and the completion of reforms, or the cancellation of reforms and a return to square one.

He also dismissed the possibility that the SDKÚ would take part in a future government that cancelled the flat tax and other reforms his government has introduced, or that would seek an alternative to Slovakia's membership in NATO.

As regards the SDKÚ's former coalition partners, the ethnic Hungarian SMK and the Christian Democrats, the SDKÚ had not held formal post-election talks with them, the prime minister said.

Concerning the HZDS and Smer, Dzurinda said that the HZDS agenda was closer to the SDKÚ's program than that of Smer, since Smer plans to cancel some reforms.

Smer won the election with 29.14 percent support (gaining 50 seats in parliament), ahead of the SDKÚ on 18.35 percent (31 seats), the SNS with 11.73 percent (20 seats), the SMK at 11.68 percent (20 seats), the HZDS with 8.79 percent (15 seats) and the KDH on 8.31 percent (14 seats).

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports

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