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Fico claims victory in regional elections

THE RULING Smer party won the regional (VÚC) election, Prime Minister and Smer chairman Robert Fico said at a press conference on November 10.

THE RULING Smer party won the regional (VÚC) election, Prime Minister and Smer chairman Robert Fico said at a press conference on November 10.

"We've got three regional governors in the first round and four candidates extremely likely to win the second round," claimed Fico, as quoted by the TASR newswire. He pointed out that according to the unofficial results Smer will also enjoy a majority in six regional councils, with the total number of Smer councillors bound to increase by 25 mandates.

"Without a shadow of a doubt, Smer's victory in this election is indisputable," Fico said.

When asked by reporters if was disappointed with the result of Monika Flašíková-Beňová in the race for governor of Bratislava Region (she ended as a distant runner-up to incumbent Governor Pavol Frešo, with 24.07 percent of the vote), Fico replied: "Bratislava is not Slovakia. Nothing can be won 100-percent and we faced opposition in Bratislava from 10 political parties."

Fico also commented on Banská Bystrica election results, where Smer candidate Vladimír Maňka fell short of a simple majority victory by 0.5 percent.

"Vladimír Maňka represents a clear winner,” Fico said. “The question here is not why he didn't receive 0.5 percent more; the question rather is how come Mr. (Ľudovít) Kaník was defeated by an extremist (alluding to far-right candidate Marian Kotleba)."

As for the low turnout in the election (just over 21 percent on average), Fico believes that people "haven't embraced this form of regional governance". Therefore, he plans to discuss with chairs of other political parties a return to the model of three regions plus Bratislava as the administrative division of Slovakia.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
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