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2010 Election - Iveta Radicova

With nearly all votes counted on 13 June 2010, the leftist SMER Party of incumbent Prime Minister Robert Fico remained the largest political force in the country with 62 seats in the 150-seat Parliament. But the results indicate it would be difficult for him to form another coalition government because a key ally, the party of former prime minister Vladimir Meciar, received less than the five-percent needed to win parliamentary representation. This marked a possible end for the political career of Meciar, who led Slovakia in the 1990s after it split from the Czech Republic, but was criticized internationally for his perceived autocratic style.

The voter turnout in Slovakia's election was higher than four years ago, about 59 percent, despite major flooding in several parts of the Eastern European country of over five-million people. Many Slovaks were angered by recently adopted Hungarian legislation making it easier for ethnic Hungarians living in Slovakia and other neighboring countries to obtain a passport from Budapest. The issue dominated election campaign debate and Prime Minister Fico's administration successfully introduced a counter law that effectively bans double citizenship for Slovakia's half-million ethnic Hungarians.

Communal elections were held in November 2010. Allegations of vote buying accompanied the elections, particularly in Romani communities in the eastern part of the country, and other infractions. Consequently, 20 councils had to repeat their elections in June 2011.

Ethnic-Hungarian politicians were expected to play a key role in a four-party coalition government of Iveta Radicova, the leader of the main opposition Slovak Democratic and Christian Union. She became the first female prime minister since Slovakia declared independence in 1993. Ms. Radicova, who had ruled out forming a coalition with the SMER Party, said Slovaks voted for responsibility.

On September 14th, 2011 Slovakian Prime Minister Iveta Radicova survived a parliamentary no-confidence vote in the first test of her center-right coalition government. After 12 hours of heated discussions Wednesday, 78 of 147 lawmakers voted to back Prime Minister Radicova, while 69 supported the no-confidence vote. The opposition fell seven votes short of the 76 it needed to take down the government. The Slovak National Party and opposition Smer-Social Democracy Party of former prime minister Robert Fico requested the vote. Those parties accused Ms. Radicova of corruption in a building deal and said she does not have the ability to gain the support of the coalition lawmakers needed to ratify the eurozone rescue fund.

A four-party ruling coalition collapsed in October 2011 when one of its junior members refused to back expansion of the eurozone's bailout fund. The coalition was also involved in a scandal when a secret service wiretap revealed what sounded like a private financial group bribing government politicians. Ms. Radicova's coalition fell after parliament was unable to pass the expanded European Financial Stability Facility rescue fund. Coalition partner Smer-Social Democracy abstained from the vote, saying the country could not afford it. But the party agreed to support the fund after a promise of early elections.

Slovak lawmakers on 13 October 2011 committed their central European government to a $10 billion share of the $596 billion fund. The approval vote came just two days after Parliament had rejected the deal, toppling the government of Prime Minister Iveta Radicova. Opposition lawmakers in Bratislava relented in the new approval vote after winning a commitment for a general election in March, two years ahead of when the Radicova government normally would have faced re-election.

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