BRATISLAVA Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said on Monday he expects to win a March 5 parliamentary election with over a third of the vote, allowing him to form a stable coalition government.
Fico told Reuters in an interview he felt he could repeat the election result from 2010, when he won with 34.8 percent -- but this time avoid the consequences of that election, when a broad coalition of centre-right parties edged him out of power.
That fractious coalition collapsed after two years, and Fico's party won the next election with an absolute majority of seats, for the first time in Slovakia's history.
"I see a very realistic chance of forming a stable coalition of two parties," Fico said. " ... We will likely get the first chance to form the government and we will try to form such a government."
Final opinion polls published last week showed Fico's Smer party is on course to win with 32.5 to 34.6 percent and will need at least one partner.
Separate surveys by the MVK agency and Focus agency saw Smer winning 77 seats in the 150-seat parliament together with the Slovak National Party, its most likely coalition partner.
Fico has based his campaign on opposition to immigration, and he has said that any partner he takes on must agree with his flat refusal of European Union's proposed quotas, which would redistribute 160,000 asylum-seekers around the 28 EU countries. Most Slovak parties agree with Fico's stance.
Polls show the centrist party Siet, a newcomer, is the main opposition, taking 14.0 percent or 25 seats.. A strong result for Siet and other centre-right and ethnic Hungarian parties could lead to a wider coalition led by Smer, a grand coalition of Siet and Smer, or an anti-Fico coalition of opposition parties.
(Reporting by Tatiana Jancarikova; Editing by Larry King)
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Updated Date: Feb 23, 2016 03:31 AM