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Smer will have influence over seven regional chairmen

THE MAIN opposition Smer party will have influence over the activities of regional chairmen in seven regions, and will probably be a member of four regional governing coalitions, Smer leader Robert Fico told the media on December 11.

"We had two goals: to become a member of at least two or three regional ruling coalitions, and to gain two or three governor posts. Five of our candidates won regional chairman seats," said Fico.

Fico believes that the low turnout was not down to bad weather, or because voters had a lack of information, but was a consequence of public apathy and distaste, caused mainly by people's bad social situation, the TASR news wire wrote.

Fico also appreciated the fact that voters in the Bratislava region rejected the campaign of right-wing candidate Ľubo Roman.

The former coalition and now opposition New Citizen's Alliance (ANO) party also regards the VÚC governor election results as encouraging, the ANO spokesperson Magda Krasulová told the news wire.

The ANO supported six winning candidates. The low turnout reflected people's disillusionment, Krasulová added.

Free Forum leader Zuzana Martináková, who predominantly identifies herself with opposition politics, says that she is satisfied with the election results.

"We were supporting six candidates, some of them from the beginning, others in the second round of the elections," Martináková said.

President Ivan Gašparovič expressed his disappointment with the low turnout.

"It's not only the fault of politicians, but also of the public, because they don't want to grasp that only they can change the state of affairs. In the vote itself, the politician is secondary, it's the voter who is most important," Gašparovič said.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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