Smer falls from grace, descends into opposition

A major self-reflection required if the once-strongest party wants to halt the fall.

PM Peter Pellegrini after February's elections.PM Peter Pellegrini after February's elections. (Source: TASR)

There was a gloomy mood at ruling party Smer’s election headquarters as the first results of the exit poll came out. The party’s top representatives avoided journalists, before PM Peter Pellegrini eventually spoke to the gathered media to comment.

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The poll was worse for Smer than the party’s eventual results – it got 18.29 percent and 38 seats in parliament. Pellegrini, who was top of the party’s candidate list, said Smer could have done better and suggested its entire leadership should offer to resign at its next meeting.

Related story: Final results: Debacle for the coalition, great victory for Matovič Read more 

However, he did not rule out entering talks with Igor Matovič’s OĽaNO, which won the elections, if offered. “Never say never,” Pellegrini noted, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “If there were to be a coalition of conciliation which would offer the greatest possible stability, please [do it],” Pellegrini added.

Matovič of OĽaNO has already ruled out negotiating with Smer, or with the far-right People’s Party/Our Slovakia (ĽSNS).

And it now looks as if Smer – having done so for a decade with a short break – will not be involved in governing Slovakia.

Fico: We will be back

Prior to the election, Smer chairman Robert Fico said in the interview at Radio Express, that even if Smer were to end up in opposition after the elections, it would return to government in a year or two.

He suggested, as he had done many times before, that a coalition made up of current opposition parties would not be stable enough to rule and would fall apart. He said at that point people would elect Smer into power again.

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