JÁN Slota, the chairman of the ruling coalition Slovak National Party (SNS), failed to defend his seat as Žilina mayor in one of the greatest surprises of Saturday’s local elections.
After 16 years in office, Slota was defeated by right-wing candidate Ivan Harman, who took 1,890 votes more than the incumbent. Slota was also supported for mayor by his two coalition partners, the Smer and HZDS parties.
Harman said he wants Žilina to become an open and free city, in which culture and education prevail over rudeness and technocratic approaches. "This result means a commitment. I hope that the people of Žilina will be satisfied with their choice," he said.
Harman admitted he was aware that it would not be easy to match Slota, who served for four election terms, and is a chairman of a ruling coalition party and an MP as well. He said that voters in Žilina appreciated the unity shown by the coalition of right-wing parties that supported him. "We managed to open people’s eyes in Žilina," he said.