Slovak president to ask election winner to form government

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Slovakia’s president will ask Prime Minister Robert Fico, whose party got the most votes in the country’s parliamentary election, to try to form a new government, he said Monday.

After campaigning on an anti-migrant ticket, Fico’s leftist Smer-Social Democracy won the ballot on Saturday with 28.3 percent of the vote, or 49 seats in the 150-seat Parliament, but will need coalition partners to rule. That’s a significant drop in support from the 2012 election when Smer took 44.4 percent and was able to govern alone.

President Andrej Kiska said he will ask Fico Tuesday to lead efforts to create a new government.

Tough negotiations are expected after a total of eight political parties made it to Parliament.

“There’s a complicated situation,” Kiska said in his first comments on the election.

Kiska said he would consult during the day and tomorrow the leaders of all political parties in Parliament, except the chairman of a neo-Nazi party, which surprisingly gained 14 seats, a result that sent shockwaves through the country.

“We will have a radical political extremism in Parliament,” Kiska said.

The People’s Party – Our Slovakia is led by Marian Kotleba, an admirer of the Nazi puppet state Slovakia was during WWII, who considers NATO a criminal organization, and has campaigned against the European Union, the Slovak Roma minority, migrants and corruption.

Slovakia has not been part of the European route that hundreds of thousands of refugees are using, and a recent teachers strike over low pay, nurses quitting hospitals en masse and corruption scandals in the health care system have overshadowed the migrant crisis in the country.

But, Fico had made the migrant crisis the central issue of his campaign.

Kiska said the voters spoke loud and clear in the election that “we need in our country to dramatically increase the trust of the citizens in the state.”