Slovakia's parliamentary elections won by Pro-Russia party

Populist former prime minister Robert Fico and his left-wing party Smer have won early parliamentary elections in Slovakia, making a political comeback with a pro-Russian and anti-American message, according to the Slovak Statistics Office. Although they did not secure a majority, Fico's party took nearly 23% of the votes, or 42 seats in the 150-seat parliament. This result allows Fico to start talks to replace the current technocrat government that has been supporting Ukraine against Russia's invasion.

Fico, who previously served as prime minister from 2006 to 2010 and again from 2012 to 2018, has expressed readiness to open talks with other parties on forming a coalition government. President Zuzana Caputova is expected to ask Fico to try to form a government, and Fico's win could strain the fragile unity within the European Union and NATO.

One of Fico's main campaign promises was to withdraw Slovakia's military support for Ukraine in Russia's war. He stated that people in Slovakia have bigger problems than Ukraine and that the country should focus on helping with the reconstruction of Ukraine rather than arming them. This stance is similar to that of Hungary's nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has clashed with the EU on various issues.

The election also saw the liberal, pro-West Progressive Slovakia party come in second place with 18% of the votes. Its leader, Michal Simecka, has expressed respect for the result but stated that it would be bad news for Slovakia if Fico manages to create a government. The left-wing Hlas (Voice) party, led by Fico's former deputy Peter Pellegrini, came in third place with 14.7% of the votes.

Fico's return to power could potentially lead Slovakia to change its course and align more closely with Hungary and its stance on Russia and Ukraine. Critics worry that Slovakia may follow in the footsteps of Hungary and Poland under the Law and Justice party, which have both taken controversial positions within the EU. Fico's victory was welcomed by Orban, who posted on social media that it is "always good to work together with a patriot."


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