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Leftist party wins vote but not majority, exit polls show

Slovakia's ruling leftist Smer party came out top in parliamentary elections on Saturday with 35.1 percent of the vote, which is not enough to stop a coalition of centre and right-wing parties from winning the parliamentary majority.

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AFP - Slovakia's ruling leftist Smer party came out on top in Saturday's vote but the centre-right opposition had the majority in parliament, near-final results showed Sunday.

Six parties surpassed the five-percent threshold allowing them to enter parliament, the Statistics Office said after 96.2 percent of the polling stations had been counted.

Smer, led by Prime Minister Robert Fico, won the election with 35.1 percent of the vote, gaining 63 seats in the 150-seat parliament, the statistics office said.

But Fico's future in power appeared tenuous as centre-right opposition parties scrambled up a tight 78-seat majority, near-final results showed.

Smer, together with his current coalition partner Slovak National Party (SNS), got 72 seats in the parliament.

Fico's other current junior coalition partner, the People's Party-Movement for Democratic Slovakia (LS-HZDS), failed to enter parliament.

The liberal SDKU-DS and Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), the Christian Democrat KDH and the ethnic Hungarian party Most-Hid -- also entering the parliament -- had promised austerity steps before the vote to get the economy battered by the global crisis back on track.

Turnout reached 58.7 percent, the near-final results showed.

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