Led by a prime minister who campaigned on anti-immigration rhetoric, Slovakia's ruling party has failed to secure a majority, according to an early exit poll. To secure an unprecedented third-term, Prime Minister Robert Fico will have to cross party lines and build a coalition.
Although official results will not be out before Sunday, an exit poll conducted by TV Markiza showed Fico's Smer-Social Democracy party in the lead with 27.3 percent of votes, but as many as eight other parties may have also secured parliamentary seats, according to the Agence France-Presse. The results leave Slovakia's parliament in a muddled situation as the country prepares to take its turn leading the European Union's rotating presidency in July.
“It's a big mishmash and a huge number of political parties in parliament,” Fico said, according to AFP.
During the campaign, the left-leaning Fico appealed to voters by taking a strong anti-immigrant stance, saying he would “never bring even a single Muslim to Slovakia.” Fico also filed a lawsuit challenging an EU plan to redistribute refugees across the union's countries.
Analysts say Fico will have to form a coalition with at least two other parties to remain in power. It's a process that could take weeks if not months to play out.