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FORMER Slovak prime minister Robert Fico and his left-wing Smer (Direction) party came first in the country’s parliamentary elections today after campaigning on a pro-Russian and anti-US message.
Mr Fico and his party got more than 23 per cent of the vote, with the pro-West Progressive Slovakia party second with 18 per cent and the left-wing Hlas (Voice) party third with 15 per cent.
The Hlas party, led by Mr Fico’s former deputy in Smer, Peter Pellegrini, alongside the pro-Russian Slovak National Party, which received 5.7 per cent, would have a parliamentary majority if they joined forces in a coalition government.
Mr Pellegrini parted ways with Mr Fico after Smer lost the previous election in 2020.
Mr Pellegrini, himself a former prime minister, congratulated Mr Fico, saying two former prime ministers in one government might not work well “but that doesn’t mean such a coalition can’t be created.”
Progressive Slovakia leader Michal Simecka, also deputy president of the European Parliament, said his party respected the result but “it’s bad news for Slovakia.”
Slovakia has backed Ukraine since Russia invaded last February, donating arms and opening the borders for refugees fleeing the war.
During the election campaign Mr Fico, who served as prime minister between 2006 and 2010 and again from 2012 to 2018, vowed to withdraw Slovakia’s military support for Ukraine if he was returned to power.
Mr Fico has blamed “Ukrainian neonazis and fascists” for provoking Russia into launching its invasion in 2022.
During the campaign he said: “The Soviets freed us from the Nazis, we should show some respect.
“We must tell the whole world that freedom comes from the East; war always comes from the West.”
The Ordinary People group, the conservative Christian Democrats and the Freedom and Solidarity party also won seats in parliament.
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