NEWS BRIEFS

Poll shows government retains support as HZDS holds on to faction

Slovakia's new reformist government, which came to power after defeating former Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar during elections last September, has retained strong support among voters, according to an opinion poll released on February 16.

The poll, conducted among 1,806 people by the private Focus agency at the end of January, suggested that combined support for the four-party coalition government was 58.6%, half a percentage point higher than its 58.1% approval rating directly following the election.

Support for the opposition, made up of Mečiar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) and the far-right Slovak National Party (SNS), was also stable, with 35.7 % of people polled showing support compared with 36.1 % in parliamentary elections.

The Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK), the party of current Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda, has replaced Mečiar's HZDS as the most popular party. Support for the SDK was put at 26.0 % in the poll compared with 26.3 % at the election. HZDS support dropped to 24.1 % from 27%.

The poll put SNS support up by around two percentage points at 11.6 %.

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