Center-right Ordinary People party captures 25% of vote and 53 of 150 seats in parliament, ending the reign of country’s long-dominant but scandal-tainted leftist party.
The center-right populist opposition claimed victory in the parliamentary election in Slovakia, ending the reign of the country’s long-dominant but scandal-tainted leftist party that governed on an anti-immigration platform.
According to nearly complete results released by the Statistics Office early Sunday, the Ordinary People group captured 25% of the vote and 53 seats in the 150-seat parliament in a move that steered the country to the right and could make a local ally of France’s far-right National Rally party led by Marine Le Pen a part of the governing coalition.
The election campaign was dominated by public anger over the 2018 murder of an investigative journalist, Jan Kuciak, and his fiancée, Martina Kusnirova.
Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini has admitted defeat.
“We will try to form the best government Slovakia’s ever had,” Ordinary People chairman Igor Matovic told a cheering crowd of 2,000 supporters in a sports hall in his hometown of Trnava, located northeast of the capital.
During election night, Matovič said that he would like to start the initial talks with his potential coalition partners on March 1.
Pro-western Matovič, 46, has made fighting corruption and attacking Fico the central tenet of his campaign. An anti-corruption drive has been in his party’s program since he established it 10 years ago.
Opposition protest party Sme Rodina (We Are Family) gained 8.26%, followed closely by the far-right People’s Party Our Slovakia (LSNS).
Two other parties also secured the 5% of votes needed to enter parliament: the liberal opposition Svoboda a Solidarita (SAS, Freedom, and Solidarity) and the anti-graft liberal opposition Za Ludi party.
The general election comes after last year’s presidential vote, won by anti-corruption campaigner and lawyer Zuzana Caputova – a political newcomer.