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On 15 December 2022 the ruling coalition government in Slovakia lost a vote of confidence. Its replacement caretaker government – with the fourth prime minister in five years – then lost a no confidence vote, but was allowed to remain in office with limited powers until early elections could be held on 30 September 2023.

Slovakia’s Ministry of the Interior announced 24 political parties and one coalition had submitted candidates lists, with a total of 2,728 candidates selected to contest the 150 seats in the National Council.

Smer-SD, led by former prime minister Robert Fico, and Progressive Slovakia were favourites to win the election, with Hlas likely to be the kingmaker in deciding who would form the next government.

The main election campaign issues centred around Ukraine and Russia (and whether or not Slovakia should continue to provide humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine), the economic situation in Slovakia and migration.

Election results

The Smer-SD party secured the most votes and gained 42 of the 150 seats in the new parliament. Progressive Slovakia (PS) came second with 32 seats in the National Council. Hlas, led by another former prime minister, Peter Pellegrini, was a close third and saw 27 of its candidates elected.

Turnout was 68.42%, the highest for 20 years.

Slovakia: 2023 general election results

A total of seven parties passed the 5% threshold to win seats in the new parliament, which led to protracted negotiations to form a coalition government.

Coalition negotiations and formation of government

As predicted, Peter Pellegrini was courted by both Smer-SD and PS to gain his support to help them form a government.

A key point for talks between both potential groupings was who will take on the post of Interior Minister. With several senior members of Smer-SD currently facing criminal prosecution, the running of the interior ministry could play a pivotal role in Slovakian politics going forward.

On 11 October it was announced that Smer-SD, Hlas and the Slovak National Party (SNS) had agreed to form a government. A coalition agreement will shortly be presented to the President and will include information on how the ministries have been allocated.

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