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Slovaks vote in tight polls key for foreign policy, Ukraine aid


Voters wait in line to cast their ballots at a polling station in Slovak parliamentary elections in Bratislava, Slovakia, September 30, 2023. /CFP

Voters wait in line to cast their ballots at a polling station in Slovak parliamentary elections in Bratislava, Slovakia, September 30, 2023. /CFP

Voters wait in line to cast their ballots at a polling station in Slovak parliamentary elections in Bratislava, Slovakia, September 30, 2023. /CFP

Slovaks voted on Saturday in a tight early election seen as key to whether the country will keep supporting neighboring Ukraine after a campaign marked by disinformation.

Polling stations across the EU and NATO member of 5.4 million people will close at 2000 GMT, with exit polls expected shortly afterwards and the final results due on Sunday morning.

Two parties were neck-and-neck in the final opinion polls — the left-wing Smer-SD of populist former premier Robert Fico and the centrist Progressive Slovakia of European Parliament vice-speaker Michal Simecka.

Both parties scored around 20 percent backing, which means the likely election winner will need help from smaller parties to form a majority coalition in the 150-seat parliament.

The new government will replace a wobbly center-right coalition in power since 2020, which has seen three cabinets installed over the period.

In the heated election campaign involving several brawls between candidates, Fico has taken aim at the EU and NATO as well as the LGBTQ+ minority.

He has also rejected providing any further military aid to Ukraine, which has been battling Russia since February 2022.

Simecka has vowed to rid Slovakia of “the past,” referring to Fico’s three terms as prime minister in 2006-2010 and 2012-2018, and is urging Slovaks to “elect the future.”

“These elections, I think they are deciding about the future orientation of our country in foreign policy, defense and security policy, but also about… the future of democracy,” independent political analyst Grigorij Meseznikov told AFP.

Source(s): AFP



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