Less than three weeks before Slovakia's parliamentary election, the combined opposition holds a commanding lead over Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar's government, an opinion poll showed on September 3.
The poll, by the private Názory agency, put support for the four opposition parties at 66.78% in August compared with 31.01% for the three-party coalition government.
In the previous Názory poll in July, the opposition had 67.7% against 29.9% for the ruling coalition.
The poll, conducted among a representative sample of 1,438 respondents, only counts the preferences of those who will actually vote and have decided whom they will support. Polling is allowed only until September 11.
Almost 14% of respondents were undecided while 7.1% said they would not vote.
The Názory poll is the only one which puts Mečiar's party, the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), in second place to the main opposition Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK).
Among individual parties, the HZDS had 21.81% support compared with 24.11% for the SDK. In July, the HZDS gained 20.09% against 23.38% for the SDK.
Finishing in first place is important in the Slovak electoral system because by tradition that party is given the first opportunity to try and form a coalition government.
Of the other members of Mečiar's coalition, the far-right Slovak National Party (SNS) had 8.09% and the leftist Workers Party (ZRS) would fail to cross the five-percent threshold necessary to win seats, with just 1.1%.
The opposition Party of Civic Understanding (SOP) was on 18.91% support, the reformed communist Party of the Democratic Left (SDL) at 16.65% and the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) with 9.11%.
The poll also found that SOP leader had the greatest trust among citizens, with a 21.2% rating. Mečiar and SDK leader Mikuláš Dzurinda tied for second with 16.8%.
Slovaks vote on September 25 and 26 in an election which Mečiar has promised will be free and fair. The United States and the European Union have criticised changes to the electoral law which they say may skew the vote in favour of the government.
14. Sep 1998 at 0:00 | Reuters