“This is a referendum about Smer,” said Prime Minister Robert Fico shortly after the official presidential candidate of the ruling party learned he will face philanthropist Andrej Kiska in the second round run-off scheduled for March 29. Though Fico won the first round of the election with 28 percent of the vote with 531,919 people backing him, Kiska finished just 4 percent behind at 24 percent, backed by 455,996 voters.
Fico said little about the specifics of the results in the March 15 vote, in which he failed to carry anywhere near the percentage his Smer party in the 2012 parliamentary elections. With opposition forces now likely to coalesce around Kiska in the second round, the race is likely to remain tight. “I expect the run-off to be very interesting,” said Fico early March 16 as quoted by TASR newswire adding that the “opposition would support even the devil against me”.
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