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Slovakia to hold election in February

AFP  |  Bratislava 

Slovakia will hold an election in February, the speaker of parliament said Monday, with opinion polls suggesting the governing Smer-SD party will win despite plummeting support since the murder of a journalist.

The vote will take place on February 29, only days after the second anniversary of the killing of an investigative journalist, which triggered a political crisis and raised concerns about corruption in the EU member state.

Jan Kuciak, 27, had been investigating the business activities of entrepreneur Marian Kocner when he and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova were gunned down at home in February 2018.

Prosecutors have charged five people over the killings, including Kocner who is accused of ordering the assassination.

Mass anti-government protests forced then premier Robert Fico to resign as the investigation highlighted links between Kocner and senior government officials Fico remains the leader of the leftwing populist Smer-SD and is a close ally of current Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, the party's deputy head.

Smer-SD is poised to win the election, according to the latest opinion polls that give it 22 per cent of the vote.

According to an October survey by the Focus agency, a newly formed coalition of the centrist Progressive Slovakia and Spolu parties could gain 11 per cent, followed by the far-right People's Party Our Slovakia (LSNS) with about 10 per cent.

The governing coalition -- made up of Smer-SD, LSNS and the Most-Hid Hungarian minority party -- currently controls just 73 seats in the 150-member parliament as several of its MPs left their parties after the double murder.

The February ballot will be the eighth since Slovakia, now a member of NATO and the eurozone, gained its independence in 1993.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, November 04 2019. 19:20 IST