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Analyst: Smer mobilised its voters

SMER, which won a sweeping victory in Slovakia’s March 10 parliamentary elections by gaining 83 seats in the 150-seat parliament, successfully mobilised left-leaning voters to achieve a 44.4-percent result on an election turnout of 59 percent, according to Martin Slosiarik, director of the Focus polling agency. Slosiarik was seeking to explain how turnout came to exceed that in 2010, despite forecasts that it would hit a record low.

SMER, which won a sweeping victory in Slovakia’s March 10 parliamentary elections by gaining 83 seats in the 150-seat parliament, successfully mobilised left-leaning voters to achieve a 44.4-percent result on an election turnout of 59 percent, according to Martin Slosiarik, director of the Focus polling agency. Slosiarik was seeking to explain how turnout came to exceed that in 2010, despite forecasts that it would hit a record low.

“It means that he [Smer leader Robert Fico] used up 100 percent of his voters’ potential,” Slosiarik told The Slovak Spectator.

Pre-election estimates by political analysts had forecast that the turnout would fall below 50 percent.

Political analyst and president of the Institute of Public Affairs Grigorij Mesežnikov said that until now there had been a direct link between higher election turnout and higher support for centre-right parties.

“Overall, the centre-right parties have been weakened,” Mesežnikov told The Slovak Spectator.

Smer received 44.4 percent of the vote. Five other parties cleared the 5-percent threshold required to win seats in parliament but none of them won more than 9 percent. The Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) won 8.8 percent, closely followed by Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) on 8.6 percent.

Then came Most-Híd on 6.9 percent, followed by the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) on 6.1 percent and Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) on 5.9 percent.

Asked about the possibility of a one-party administration, Mesežnikov said he believes it is more or less certain that Slovakia will get such a government.

“Going into a coalition with Smer in such a situation would mean gradual extinction for any party [that did so],” Mesežnikov said. “It would mean that Smer could comfortably push for its whole social programme and [to do so] it would not need any other party.”

According to Mesežnikov, Smer would only need opposition support over issues like the European bailout mechanism, but for this he will have three opposition parties that are pretty much on the same page anyway.

“It will be comfortable governing for them,” said Mesežnikov.

The Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), previously the biggest party on the right, saw its popularity fall from 15.42 percent to 6.1 percent, leaving it just above the critical 5-percent threshold.

Mesežnikov suggested that this was an evident failure which offered the party the opportunity for self-reflection and attribution of personal responsibility. He argued that Lucia Žitňanská, the SDKÚ’s deputy chairwoman, who had said before the election that she would seek the chairmanship after the election if she received enough preferential votes, would now have no alternative but to challenge party chairman Mikuláš Dzurinda. Žitňanská collected the highest number of preferential votes within the SDKÚ – 103,517 – while Dzurinda picked up only 27,242.

Darina Malová, head of the school of political sciences at Comenius University, said that the results of the parliamentary elections were evidence of what she called the unbearable economic situation of a large portion of Slovak people. She suggested that more than a million voters had elected Smer for what the party promised in its campaign: a socially-oriented state, and certainty, the SITA newswire reported.

Radka Minarechová contributed to this report

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