Slovak Premier Finds Coalition Partners, Heads for Third Term

  • Premier's party in talks on coalition with SNS, Most-Hid, Siet
  • Coalition of traditional foes set to avert early elections

Slovak Premier Robert Fico moved closer to forming his third administration as two center-right parties said they would consider joining his coalition, seeking to avoid an early vote after inconclusive elections March 5 brought a far-right party to parliament.

Leaders of Most-Hid, a party that represents mostly ethnic Hungarians, and Siet, which pledged tax cuts and anti-corruption measures, agreed Sunday to start negotiations with Fico, who gets to form a government as the biggest vote-getter in the election. The Slovak National Party, Smer’s ruling partner in 2006-2010, on Saturday declined to join a rival coalition. The four parties would have 85 seats in the 150-member parliament.

“Our interest is to create a stable government," Fico told reporters Sunday in Bratislava, Slovakia, after meeting with Most-Hid’s Chairman Bela Bugar. “Slovakia can’t afford chaos and deepening of elements that deform the political system.”

The inconclusive election result brought together Fico with his former foes as they seek to avoid a snap vote and possibly even greater support for the far-right. Even as the economy accelerated during his second term and unemployment fell to almost a seven-year low, the migrant crisis, persistent regional differences and rising concern over corruption led Slovaks to vote for protest groups such as People’s Party, whose leaders have praised the fascist regime in Slovakia during World War II.

Fico, who has until Friday to form the government, said the four parties will continue talks on Monday.

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