Slovak Premier Fico Agrees With Partners on Smer-Led Cabinet

  • Fico's Smer to form government with SNS, Most-Hid, Siet
  • Smer gets 9 of 15 cabinet seats, including finance minister

Slovak Premier Robert Fico agreed with leaders of three other parties on the division of cabinet posts, clearing the way for his third administration and one that unites former foes in an effort to prevent snap elections after an inconclusive vote this month.

Fico’s Smer party is teaming up with the Slovak National Party, or SNS, its ruling partner in the 2006-2010 administration, and two opposition parties: Most-Hid, a party that mostly includes ethnic Hungarians, and Siet, which pledged tax cuts and anti-corruption measures. Smer will have nine of the 15 cabinet’s posts, including the Finance Ministry. The nationalists get three ministries, while Most-Hid has two and Siet will control the Transportation Ministry, Fico said after a third day of talks in Bratislava, the capital.

The result of the vote, in which citizens concerned about graft and Europe’s migrant crisis voted for protest groups such as the far-right People’s Party, brings together traditional opponents whose agendas vary from tax cuts to calls for more state sway over the economy. The four parties have 85 deputies in the 150-seat legislature, though three deputies for Siet and one for Most-Hid have said they’d quit their parties if they align with Smer.

Talks will continue Thursday, when party leaders will discuss nominations for individual posts, Fico said. He has a mandate until Friday from President Andrej Kiska to form the government.

The parties approved key program program points for the new administration on Tuesday, including anti-corruption measures, corporate tax cuts and more social spending. Smer, which won the most seats on pledges to boost welfare, had to find common ground with Most-Hid and Siet, which criticized Fico’s administration for what they said was non-transparent public procurement and a failure to improve health care and education.

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