Exit polls in Slovakia gave Prime Minister Robert Fico’s Smer party a win in Saturday’s parliamentary election, with a large number of other parties, far left and far right, also winning seats.
Fico called the likely new parliament a “big mishmash,” and he may have a hard time putting together a new coalition government.
The exit poll by Slovakia’s Markiza television gave Smer 27.3 percent of the vote, lower than what had been predicted. Public dissatisfaction with corruption and low wages for teachers and nurses may have cost him votes.
The conservative anti-immigration Fico may have to turn to leftists as well as other conservatives to try to form a government that will get enough support in the Slovakian National Council, or parliament.
“I expect a very high number of parties in the parliament, which is not good, because it causes high instability,” Fico had said after voting Saturday. “Now it is in the hands of people. I will respect any kind of result.”
Fico’s anti-immigration stance has been popular with many voters. He has dismissed multiculturalism as “a fiction” and has pledged never to accept European Union quotas on relocating refugees.
Fico holds office in a region that’s on the front lines of the migration crisis, and his views on the issue align him with the leaders of Hungary and Poland, who are taking a tough stand to limit the number of migrants allowed to travel through their countries or to settle there.
Slovakia is due to take over the European Union’s rotating presidency in July, which could position its government to play a bigger role in EU policy discussions on the migration crisis.