The populist party Smer-SD (“Direction-Slovak Social Democracy”), of the three former prime ministers Robert Fico, the so-called “second Orban” won the parliamentary elections held yesterday Saturday in Slovakia, with 98.13% of the votes counted.

Smer-SD secured 23.42% of the vote, ahead of the centre-liberal Progressive Slovakia (PS) party, which gathered 16.75%, defying the sixth polls broadcast shortly after polls closed.

Yesterday’s elections in the EU and NATO member state of 5.4 million people were characterized as decisive on whether Bratislava will remain on the path of identification with the West or whether it will turn to Russia.

Mr Fiko’s party has promised that will stop providing military aid to neighboring Ukraine in its war with Russia.

The centre-liberal Progressive Slovakia (PS) party of European Parliament vice-president Michal Šimeča is not ruled out to increase its percentage, as it is more popular in big cities, where counting takes longer.

The final results will be announced in the next few hours.

The election campaign was marked by highs levels of misinformation on the internet and it was stormy.

It was characterized by many bitter clashes between the candidates, while Mr. Fico succeeded both against the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, as well as against the LGBTQI+ minority.

The former prime minister voted in a village northeast of the capital, accompanied by his mother.

Bigger… Escalope

“Talking to my mother, I find she has a lot of experience and common sense and of course she makes the best escalopes,” Mr Fico said in a video he uploaded to Facebook.

He added that he wants Slovakia not to be ruled by “amateurs and inexperienced buffoons who lead us into adventures, such as immigration and war”.

“And I would like escalopes in Slovakia to be bigger and bigger and not smaller and smaller,” he added.

After voting in Bratislava, Mr Simecsa said yesterday that “will accept the result of the election”, whatever it is, “with humility”.

The winning party will need to ally with smaller ones to form a government with a majority in Slovakia’s 150-seat parliament.

The next government will replace a centre-right coalition in power from 2020 that changed three times in three years, however, it offered considerable military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

Potential partners

President Zuzana Tsaputova has stated that she will entrust the winner of the elections to form the next government.

The possibility of choosing tomorrow’s government coalition partners will be wide, as according to the results so far in the parliament seven factions are expected to enter.

Apart from the two dominant parties, it is the parties HLAS-SD (15.03%) of Peter Pellegrini, the former vice-president of Smer-SD and successor of Mr. Fiko in the leadership of the government in 2018, Oleno (9.05%, centre), Christian Democratic Movement (KDH, 6.92%), Freedom and Solidarity (SaS, liberal, 6.13%), Slovak National Party (SNS, 5.68%), while the Democracy party (extreme right, 4.81%).

HLAS-SD was born in 2020, after the split of Smer-SD, two years after Mr. Fiko left the post of Prime Minister, following the much-lauded murder of journalist-investigator Jan Kuciak and his fiancee.

The deceased had revealed the existence of relations between the Italian mafia and Mr. Fico’s government in an article published posthumously.

Slovakia became independent in 1993, with the bloodless divorce with the Czech Republic, after Czechoslovakia ceased to be ruled by a communist government in 1989 after four decades.