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Slovak Anti-Corruption Opposition Parties Score Emphatic Election Win

BRATISLAVA—Slovak opposition led by the Ordinary People party (OLANO) won an emphatic victory in the countrys parliamentary election, as voters angry with graft routed the ruling centre-left Smer that has dominated the political scene for over a decade.

Results from 96.16 percent of voting districts showed on Sunday that OLANO, a politically amorphous, pro-European Union and pro-NATO movement focused on fighting corruption, took 24.95 percent of the vote, far ahead of the ruling Smer with 18.5 percent.

Support for OLANO surged in recent weeks, from less than 6 percent late last year, concentrating a protest vote fed by the murder of an investigative journalist and his fiancée two years ago.

Seats won by other liberal and conservative parties gave OLANO a strong position to lead negotiations to form a new centre-right government.

OLANO leader Igor Matovic has pledged to clean up politics, an ambition encapsulated in his partys slogan: “Lets Beat the Mafia Together.”

“We take the result as a request from people who want us to clean up Slovakia. To make Slovakia a just country, where the law applies to everybody regardless if he is rich or poor,” Matovic said after most of the votes were counted.

Matovic said he would reach out to leaders of three other parties—the liberal Freedom and Solidarity, the conservative For the People of former president Andrej Kiska, and the socially conservative, eurosceptic We Are Family—to form an alliance that would have constitutional majority of over 90 seats in the 150-seat parliament.

Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini from Smer acknowledged defeat and said the partys run in the office, for 12 out of the past 14 years, may be over.

“A probable departure of our party into opposition is not such a surprise,” Pellegrini told reporters.

Smer scored its worst result since 2002. Its nationalist and Hungarian minority allies did not win any seats, the first time in decades that Hungarians will not be represented.

The political shift in the euro zone member state, which has avoided fights with Brussels unlike its central European Visegrad Group neighbors Hungary and Poland, started with the 2018 murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée.

An investigation unearthed communications between a businessman now on trial for ordering the hit and politicians and judicial officials. The defendant has denied the charges.

The killing led to the biggest street protests in the post-communist era, forcing Smer leader Robert Fico to resign, though his party held on to power.

Matovic, 46, told Reuters last week he wanted to be a conciliatory voice Read More – Source

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