According to initial forecasts, the liberal party “Progressive Slovakia” (PS), which is not yet represented in parliament, may have surprisingly won the parliamentary elections in Slovakia.

The left-wing national opposition party “Towards – Slovak Social Democracy” (Smer-SSD), led by former long-term head of government Robert Fico, which was leading in the polls for months, came in second place in both forecasts. The official final result should be announced this morning (expected by 11 a.m.).

If the forecasts are confirmed, a coalition is likely that will continue the current arms deliveries to Ukraine. Fico had announced that he would end the arms aid program, which was unpopular with the population, if he came back to power. The EU and NATO country Slovakia borders directly on Ukraine and has so far been one of the most determined political and military supporters of the neighboring country attacked by Russia.

Liberals just ahead

Around 4.4 million eligible voters were called to elect a new parliament on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10:45 p.m. In two post-election polls published on Saturday evening, the Liberals, led by MEP Michal Simecka, were narrowly ahead.

According to a forecast made for the private television station TV Markiza, the liberal PS got 23.5 percent, the left-wing nationalist Smer-SSD got 21.9 percent. A forecast commissioned by the public radio and television station RTVS showed an even narrower victory for the PS over Smer-SSD. Accordingly, PS was with 19.97 percent ahead of Smer with 19.09 percent. Both forecasts were based on surveys of voters immediately after they cast their votes.

The electoral commission continuously published partial results from the individual constituencies throughout the night. However, these did not produce a reliable trend. As in previous elections, small communities were counted first, but the counting in the larger cities took longer. In the small communities with predominantly economically weaker populations, the left-wing Smer is traditionally stronger. Bratislava and the other economically strong cities, on the other hand, are considered liberal strongholds.

Problems in individual polling stations

PS boss Michal Simecka was extremely cautious after the two forecasts were published. The results are hopeful, he told the TASR news agency. However, his party still painfully remembers that the election result for his party in the last election was worse than the forecasts. In the 2020 parliamentary election, the PS, which ran as an electoral alliance with another liberal party, narrowly missed the hurdle for entering parliament. There is a five percent threshold for individual parties, but an electoral alliance must reach over seven percent.

The more liberal Social Democrats under former Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, who split off from the Fico party, are now likely to tip the scales. This party, called “Voice – Social Democracy” (Hlas-SD), together with small bourgeois parties, could help the PS achieve a comfortable majority – or prevent it. In the latter case, however, there would be a risk of a stalemate because the Fico party Smer-SSD would have difficulty finding the coalition partners it needs other than Hlas.

The election, which began on Saturday morning, ended late in the evening. Instead of 10 p.m. as planned, the last polling stations closed three quarters of an hour later. The reason for this were problems in individual polling stations where election commission members had health problems. According to the law, interruptions in voting must be compensated for by a corresponding extension of the voting time.