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NEWS BRIEFS

Smer tops January poll

IF NATIONAL elections had been held at the beginning of January 2005, the opposition party Smer would have won, taking 31.6 percent of the vote, a new survey shows.

According to the poll, carried out by the Slovak Statistical Office, the opposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia ranked second with 13.9 percent and the ruling Christian Democratic Movement was third with 11.9 percent.

The Hungarian Coalition Party received 11.7 percent support, followed by the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union with 9.1 percent. Next came the Slovak Communist Party with 5.9 percent and the non-parliamentary Slovak National Party with 5.8 percent, the SITA news agency reported.

The liberal New Citizen's Alliance, a member of the ruling coalition, would not qualify for parliament, gaining just 4.3 percent support when 5 percent is the minimum required.

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