Slovakia’s poll winner defies European consensus on Ukraine

By Jan Lopatka and Jason Hovet

Slovakia’s pro-Russian and anti-liberal election winner Robert Fico was poised on Sunday to begin coalition talks to form a government likely to join Hungary in opposing the European Union’s military aid for Ukraine.

The 59-year-old former prime minister’s SMER-SSD party scored nearly 23% of Saturday’s parliamentary poll, earning the president’s nod to start talks to replace a technocrat government that has been backing Kyiv against Russia’s invasion.

“We are not changing that we are prepared to help Ukraine in a humanitarian way,” said Fico, whom analysts consider to be inspired by Hungary’s nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban who has frequently clashed with the EU.

“We are prepared to help with the reconstruction of the state but you know our opinion on arming Ukraine,” he added at a news conference.

Fico’s campaign call of “Not a single round” for neighbouring Ukraine resonated in the nation of 5.5 million.

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