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Slovak Ruling Party Loses Parliament Majority, Despite Electoral Win

Robert Fico chairman of the SMER-Social Democracy addresses media after a TV debate after Slovakia's general elections in Bratislava, Slovakia, March 6, 2016.

Slovakia’s leftist ruling party will begin negotiations Sunday with smaller political parties in an attempt to form a coalition government after losing its parliamentary majority in Saturday's elections.

With nearly all the votes counted, Prime Minister Robert Fico’s Smer-Social Democracy party won nearly 30 percent of the vote, securing 49 seats in the 150-seat parliament, losing its secure majority of 83 seats in the previous government.

The pro-business Freedom and Solidarity party came in second with about 12 percent of the vote, securing 21 seats.

Fico campaigned on a strident anti-immigrant platform, aligning Bratislava with Poland and Hungary, who are opposed to a European Union plan to evenly distribute refugees who have poured into the continent fleeing Syria, Iraq and other war-ravaged countries, creating Europe's biggest migrant and humanitarian crisis since World War Two.

Fico's victory comes as Slovakia prepares to assume the EU's rotating presidency in July.

Among the smaller parties who won seats in Saturday's elections is the extreme right nationalist Our Slovakia, which took 8 percent of the vote.

Party leader Marian Kotelba is a neo-Nazi sympathizer who has expressed strident views against Slovakia's Roma minority.

Some material for this report came from AP, AFP and Reuters.

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