Slovak elections: Opposition OLaNO wins, no growth in votes for fascist party
The parliamentary elections in Slovakia over the weekend were convincingly won by the opposition anti-corruption movement Ordinary People and Independent Figures (OLaNO), chaired by Igor Matovič. The movement earned more than a quarter of all votes cast on Saturday.
The outcomes have been published by the Bureau of Statistics. Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, the leading candidate for the governing Směr-SD (Direction - Social Democracy) party, congratulated the OLaNO movement on its victory and conceded his party's move into opposition.
Compared to the estimates generated by previous surveys of the electorate, the fascist People's Party "Our Slovakia' (LSNS) party, chaired by Marian Kotleba, scored fewer votes than predicted and did not make any gains. OLaNO, with 25.02 % of the vote, kicked the strongest governing party, Směr-SD, which has long dominated politics in the country, to second place.
On Saturday Pellegrini's party won just 18.3 % of the vote, the weakest outcome ever for the four-time winner of Slovakia's national contests. Third place went to the opposition party "We Are the Family" (Jsme rodina), with 8.26 % of the vote, overtaking the fascist LSNS, which won 7.98 %, practically the equivalent of their surprise result in 2016 and a significant downgrade from pre-election surveys that predicted the fascists would win as much as 13 % of the vote and even spoke of them as a possible victor.
The opposition Freedom and Solidarity (Svoboda a solidarita) party also made it into the unicameral legislature, as did the new party "For the People" (Za lidi) led by former Slovak President Andrej Kiska, with 5.76 %. Surprisingly, compared to pre-election estimates and surveys, the coalition of the Progressive Slovakia/Together (Progresivní Slovensko/Spolu) parties, which have yet to be seated nationally, did not cross the threshold despite winning the elections to the European Parliament last year.
Current Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová also previously emerged victorious from the Progressive Slovakia party. The threshold for coalitions to enter the legislature is 7 %, and PS/Spolu earned 6.94 %.
The Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) earned 4.64 % of the votes, not enough to qualify for a seat. Also, for the first time since the fall of communism in 1989, the Hungarian minority, who are numerous, will not have their own party represented in the legislature.
The lack of Hungarian minority representation was clear well before the final results were reported. Hungarian minority leader Béla Bugár, whose Most-Híd ("Bridge") party has always been among the governing coalition partners of Směr-SD, has announced his resignation.
The chair of the KDH, Alojz Hlina, has also announced he is stepping down. The highest number of preferential votes for an individual candidate was earned by Igor Matovič (almost 480 000), followed by Slovak PM Pellegrini, whose total far exceeded the preferential votes earned by the chair of Směr-SD, Robert Fico, who earned the third-highest preferential vote score.
Pellegrini congratulated Matovič and the OLaNO movement on their victory in front of journalists over the weekend. "The winner is clear," Pellegrini declared after the votes had been counted from more than half of the polling places.
The PM admitted that Směr-SD was most probably heading into opposition after dominating politics in Slovakia for many years. He also announced that the entire leadership of Směr-SD, including the chair, Fico, would be making a statement at another press conference.
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