Slovak president Zuzana Caputova said on Sunday she would give a mandate to Robert Fico on Monday to form a new government, signalling the former prime minister would receive first shot at putting together a coalition.
Ms Caputova did not mention by name Mr Fico’s Smer-SSD party, which campaigned on pledges to end military aid to Ukraine and came first with nearly 23 per cent of the vote, followed by almost 18 per cent for the Progresivne Slovensko (Progressive Slovakia, PS) party. Fico said on Sunday he would wait for the president’s mandate, estimating coalition talks could last at least two weeks.
Mr Fico also told a news conference that Slovakia has bigger problems than Ukraine and would do everything possible to start peace talks.
“We are not changing that we are prepared to help Ukraine in a humanitarian way,” said Mr Fico “We are prepared to help with the reconstruction of the state but you know our opinion on arming Ukraine,” he added.
Mr Fico may look to the moderate leftist HLAS (Voice) party, which came third with nearly 15 per cent of votes, as a partner, along with the nationalist, pro-Russian Slovak National Party.
HLAS leader Peter Pellegrini has said ammunition supplies to Ukraine are good for Slovakia’s defence industry and the party has backed the EU stance against the invasion.
Slovakia has already donated to Ukraine most of what it could from state reserves – including fighter jets – and Mr Fico has not clarified whether his party would seek to end commercial supplies from the defence industry.
Hungarian leader Viktor Orban congratulated Fico on Sunday with a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying: “Guess who’s back!”
“Always good to work together with a patriot,” added Mr Orban.
Mr Fico, who campaigned strongly against illegal migration in the run-up to Saturday’s election and criticised a caretaker government for not doing more, said restarting border controls with Hungary would be a priority.
“One of the first decisions of the government must be an order renewing border controls with Hungary,” Mr Fico said. “It will not be a pretty picture,” he said, adding force would be needed on the 655km border.
Slovakia’s PS party, which is liberal on green policies, LGBT rights, deeper European integration and human rights, also plans to court HLAS.
“We believe that this [result] is very bad news for Slovakia,” PS leader Michal Simecka. “And it would be even worse news if Robert Fico succeeds in forming a government.”