Election 2020: Igor Matovič marks an historic victory over Smer

The result is a debacle for the ruling coalition, liberals from PS/Spolu left out in the cold.

Thank you for having followed the live updates from the election night. For more information about the post-election development, click here.

- Igor Matovič: It would be unfair to blame us for the result of PS/Spolu and KDH (interview)
- Final results: Debacle for the ruling coalition, big win for Matovič
- Fico was defeated by a man he used to call a clown (opinion)

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>>> What will the parliament look like?

10:15 After 100 percent of the vote has been counted, OĽaNO is the winner with 25.02 percent, followed by Smer with 18.29 percent and Sme Rodina with 8.24 percent. The turnout so far stands at 65.80 percent.

3:04 Most-Híd chair Béla Bugár resigned from his post following the party’s performance as shown after more than 60 percent of the votes was counted. He did not reveal who his successor will be.

Bugár is ready to continue helping the party in the future.

2:47 After 65.58 percent of the vote has been counted, OĽaNO leads with 24.41 percent, followed by Smer with 19.26 percent.

2:45 At the last press conference during election night, Pellegrini expressed hope that the party would receive better results than shown in the exit polls. He also congratulated Matovič and his OĽaNO movement, and hopes he will also be able to do it in person during the televised debates.

He also admitted the departure to the opposition, since several parties had said before the elections that they would not form a coalition with them.

“It was shown that Slovak voters said no to new projects and young politicians,” Pellegrini continued, when commenting on the preliminary results. “On the contrary, they voted for traditional politicians.”

Smer will hold a press conference on the afternoon of March 1, where representatives, including chair Robert Fico, will be present, Pellegrini said.

2:22 Igor Matovič has already talked with President Zuzana Čaputová on the phone. Although they are still waiting for the official results, they have already agreed on another phone call on Monday or Tuesday.

“I still need to see the official results,” Matovič told the media. He would also like to wait to see how the negotiations with other parties go. He admitted that some preliminary talks may also be held on March 1.

He added that the representatives of some other parties are likely to come to Trnava during election night.

2:16 After 51.66 percent of the vote has been counted, OĽaNO leads with 24.24 percent, followed by Smer with 19.57 percent.

2:06 We are definitely ready to rule, said Jaroslav Naď of OĽaNO for the Denník N daily. He is confident they will be able to deliver first-rate experts to several ministries. “If numbers from the exit polls are confirmed, Slovakia will experience an unprecedented change in government.”

2:04 As of now, Prešov Region is counting votes at the fastest rate, where 37 percent have been counted. Bratislava Region has counted the least amount of votes at only 3 percent.

After counting almost 22 percent of votes, the turnout is 64.1 percent. The highest is in Žilina Region, where the turnout is over 72 percent, the lowest in Košice Region around 57 percent, the SITA newswire reported.

1:47 After 38.11 percent of the vote has been counted, OĽaNO leads with 23.8 percent, followed by Smer with 20.31 percent.

1:17 After 25.55 percent of the vote has been counted, OĽaNO leads with 23.54 percent, followed by Smer with 21.17 percent.

0:42 Smer’s deputy chairs made a statement after 10 percent of the votes had been counted. PM Peter Pellegrini said they are going to make more detailed comments when the results are clearer.

“We realise the results might have some contours now,” he said. He admitted Smer is carrying some “historical baggage” and that the whole leadership will take responsibility.

This has been the hardest campaign for the party, which in 2012 won with over 44 percent, he said. Pellegrini added that he will step down as deputy chair of Smer if the result proves to be unfavourable.

“If it is the number that has been published [in exit polls], then as an election leader I am not satisfied,” Pellegrini said. Robert Fico did not speak to journalists.

0:34 Behind the significant success of the OĽaNO movement is the disappointment of voters with the previous work of the ruling party Smer, from the cases they have been involved in to the way individual party members acted in the pre-election debate, said political analyst Renáta Dulinová Bzdilová for the SITA newswire.

0:29 Smer representatives, including Robert Fico and Peter Pellegrini, are currently separated from journalists.

0:22 The Sme Rodina movement will be an expensive bride because it will fight for the people, said its chairman Boris Kollár after publishing the results of the exit poll. “If we are in any government after the election, we will look - first of all - at the five million people who cannot always help themselves,” he said, as quoted by SITA. “This is what I can promise you standing at this place.”

0:20 “In 1989, we got rid of communism, in 1998 mečiarism, and in 2020 the mafia,” said Igor Matovič after inviting Milan Kňažko, Ján Budaj and Anna Remiášová on stage, as quoted by the Aktuality.sk website. He also thanked all voters who made it possible to get rid of the mafia.

0:15Anton Hrnko of SNS said that the decision about Andrej Danko’s next step is up to him. “After the election, there will be an assembly,” he added, as quoted by Denník N. Representatives of the party, like the Agriculture Minister Gabriela Matečná, are slowly leaving the central office of the party.

23:46 Chairman of the Dobrá Voľba party Tomáš Drucker believes the election results will be better than what the exit poll showed. According to the published results, the party would not make it to the parliament.

“We cannot be, of course, satisfied if it is like it seems,” he said, as quoted by the SITA newswire. Journalists reported that disappointment is visible on Drucker.

Most-Híd chair Béla Bugár did not want to comment on the exit poll results either, adding he will wait for the official results. Commenting on the result of Matovič and his OĽaNO, he said that “he will have a great responsibility to form a stable and responsible government, and fulfil what he has promised”, as reported by the SITA newswire.

His party colleague and ex-environment minister László Sólymos said that the unflattering result of Most-Híd was also the result of their involvement in the ruling coalition, the TASR newswire wrote.

23:44 If the election mirrors the results of the exit poll by Focus, OĽaNO, SaS and PS/Spolu would have a majority (77 seats) in parliament. With party Za Ľudí, they would have a constitutional majority with 91 seats, with KDH 100 seats and with Sme Rodina 113 seats. Smer and ĽSNS would have only 37 seats in the parliament.

23:42 SNS chair Andrej Danko wants to wait for the official election results before commenting on them. Regardless of the results, SNS will soon have a congress, at which it wants to discuss the election.

“It’s hard to evaluate based on the exit poll what has happened,” Danko told the press conference. In his opinion, in this election emotions were more important than programmes.

Danko also blamed the media for SNS’ downfall.

23:41 People wanted a change, and the change will come, chairman of the PS/Spolu coalition Michal Truban commented on the exit poll results. Truban said they expected a two-digit percentage, but they are not far from reaching it. He believes that they will reach their goal. PS/Spolu is also encouraged by ĽSNS’ significant drop in voter support in the exit poll.

“The position of the third strongest political party is what we hoped for,” Miroslav Beblavý of PS/Spolu said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

23:29 "We will be happy if the numbers are confirmed,” SaS chair Richard Sulík responded to the exit poll results, as quoted by Sme. He also congratulated Matovič, claiming that “he went on a scary, infernal ride”. “The giant of Slovak politics has ended.”

Deputy chairman of Za Ľudí Juraj Šeliga was really happy about the exit poll number. “We are a new party, so it would be a success if we enter parliament, should [the Exit poll results] be confirmed,” he said for Denník N.

“I was surprised because the last two weeks were really hard,” he said. “The anti campaign was really brutal.”

The atmosphere surrounding KDH was tense when they saw the results of the exit poll , which is just barely above 5 percent. It did not arouse a huge wave of enthusiasm. “Every minute will last an hour for us, now,” KDH leader Alojz Hlina said, as quoted by the Denník N.

23:24 “The biggest surprise of these elections is the high percentage for Igor Matovič’s OĽaNO; the second surprise is the low support for ĽSNS and absolutely shocking is SNS’ result,” said sociologist Michal Vašečka for Denník N, after results of the exit poll were released. “Several expected that SNS would not make it to the parliament, but that 2.4-percent result is flabbergasting.”

23:18 “We woke a sleeping dragon,” Igor Matovič reacted to the poll results. He said they attracted the people who did not trust the state and who saw that corruption is the most pressing issue.

“People seem to have appreciated [our efforts] and decided to give it to us, because we have worked hard for it,” Matovič said in Trnava, where his movement organised a public event with 1,800 supporters in attendance.

The phone of some mobster has shown us the real face of Slovakia, Matovič explained what motivated voters. “Slovakia woke up and we have experienced the culmination of its awakening tonight.”

Matovič believes his result is also thanks to non-voters.

“Do not fear the future, we can make it together,” Matovič concluded his address to his supporters. The slogan resembles that of Zuzana Čaputová when she was elected president - she kept telling people “We can make it.”

23:00 The Markíza television has published results of the exit poll that the Focus polling agency produced for them.

OĽaNO leads the poll with 25.8 percent of the vote, followed by Smer, which dropped to 14.9 percent.

The eight parties that would make it to parliament, according to the poll, also include PS/Spolu, Za Ľudí, ĽSNS, SaS, Sme Rodina and KDH.

The current ruling coalition SNS and Most-Híd are both left out in the cold, according to the poll, with under 3 percent of the vote.

22:30 The Markíza television has published results of the exit poll that the Focus polling agency produced for them.

The poll does not feature the names of the parties yet, since the moratorium will not end until 23:00.

The strongest party according to the exit poll has won 25.8 percent of the vote. The party that follows earned around 14 percent according to the poll.

There will be eight parties in the new parliament, the poll results suggest.

Read all about the 2020 parliamentary election here.

The polling stations opened in Slovakia at 7:00 this morning. Due to a death in one of the polling stations in Banská Bystrica, the moratorium on publishing exit polls and preliminary election results has been postponed to 23:00.

President voted

President Zuzana Čaputová voted in her hometown in Pezinok after queuing in front of the polling station. Queues have been reported in many places in Slovakia; the election turnout is expected to be high.

“It is an immensely important step to put one’s opinion into how Slovakia will develop,” the president said, as quoted by the Sme daily. She also noted that Slovakia marks 100 years since the first democratic constitution was introduced in then Czechoslovakia, which introduced universal suffrage.

The president said she would spend election night waiting for the results with her team; she is not expected to attend any of the political party’s election headquarters. She said she would call the winner on the phone.

High attendance in the border village of Kúty

The polling station in Kúty, the municipality on the border with the Czech Republic, has reported a high attendance of people who are not locals.

Many Slovaks who live and work in the Czech Republic cast their vote, using electoral passes, here.

By noon, the election commission reported that 600 such votes were cast here, Sme reported. The village itself has 3,277 eligible voters.

A record number of Slovaks living abroad decided to return home before the February 29 elections.

Costly campaign

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