In a significant political shift in Slovakia, the Smer-SSD party, under the leadership of pro-Russian Robert Fico, has emerged as the largest party in the nation.
This development follows the recent elections, where 98 percent of the votes have been counted as of Sunday morning, with Fico's party securing 23.37 percent of the total votes.
The remaining votes primarily originate from the capital, Bratislava, a stronghold for the more progressive PS party. However, it is highly unlikely that these outstanding votes will substantially alter the overall election results.
Michal Simecka, the leader of the PS party, has acknowledged via Facebook that his party is set to be the second-largest faction in the Slovakian parliament.
Despite the electoral success of Smer-SSD, it is not expected that Robert Fico will immediately take on the role of Prime Minister.
His party does not have the majority needed to form a government independently and will therefore need to build alliances to secure sufficient mandates for government formation.
Pre-election polls conducted on Saturday night had initially predicted a victory for the PS party. However, there was a discrepancy regarding the extent of the lead that the progressive, left-leaning party was holding.
While one poll suggested a 1.6 percent lead for the PS party, another provided a more conservative estimate, projecting a lead of less than one percent.
The PS party's election campaign was built on promises of continued support for Ukraine and improved rights for LGBT individuals. In stark contrast, Robert Fico has recently declared that Slovakia would not dispatch “a single cartridge” to Ukraine if his party assumed power. He has also advocated for peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine.