SMER, which gained the most votes in the June 17 general elections, emerged from the first round of talks on forming a coalition government insisting it remains open to cooperating with any parliamentary party.
After meeting with representatives from the Slovak National Party (SNS) and the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) on June 20, party chairman Robert Fico also met with representatives from the former ruling parties: the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) and outgoing PM Mikuláš Dzurinda's Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ).
Fico admitted that "common goals [between Smer and the SDKÚ's] programmes are very hard to find", but still did not rule out cooperating with the party.
Smer's top board should meet shortly to discuss how to proceed in the negotiations. In the meantime, Fico is refusing to comment further.
According to political analyst Samuel Abrahám, Fico has found himself "in a great lottery game and is unclear who to forge a government with", SME wrote.
It is widely believed that forming a coalition with the SNS and HZDS would do Smer more harm than good, though a coalition with the KDH and SMK could also present problems, as Smer's voters might disapprove of Hungarians being part of the government.
According to Abrahám, Fico would appreciate it if one of the parties "slammed the door and left for opposition", so he could say he was left with no other choice.
Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
22. Jun 2006 at 12:46