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‘It will be close’: Candidates make last push
In what is expected to be a knife-edge vote, candidates have been urging Slovaks to come out to vote – and bring their friends.
“If you haven’t voted today, please join – by train, car, on foot, as needed,” Progressive Slovakia leader Michal Šimečka wrote on Facebook earlier this evening. “It will be close and every single vote can decide,” he added.
“Friends, come cast your vote,” Hlas party leader and former prime minister Peter Pellegrini said on social media. “Others have already used their opportunity, but you can decide,” he said.
Catch up on the Guardian’s Slovakia coverage
‘Roma only’: the school caught up in a Slovakian national scandal by Daniel Boffey
Exit polls expected at 10:45pm CET
While first exit polls were expected shortly after 10pm CET, a moratorium on publishing results has been extended until 10:45pm local time due to the death of a voter in a polling station in Považská Bystrica.
Nevertheless, television station Markíza is still expected to publish numbers at 10pm – but without indicating party names.
A record 58,779 people voted by mail from abroad in Slovakia’s election, according to the country’s interior ministry.
23,486 voted from the Czech Republic, 6,238 from the UK and 5,546 from Germany.
Welcome to the Slovakia election blog
Welcome to a special edition of our Europe live blog.
This evening we will be looking at Slovakia’s snap election, which has attracted attention far beyond the country’s borders.
All eyes are on 59-year-old Robert Fico, a populist former three-time prime minister who has pledged to stop military aid to Ukraine, criticised sanctions targeting Russia and campaigned against LGBTQ+ rights.
Fico’s Smer party is neck-to-neck in the polls with Progressive Slovakia, a liberal party led by 39-year-old European parliament vice-president Michal Šimečka.
But the ultimate outcome of the election may be decided by a host of smaller parties that are expected to also enter parliament.
Hlas, led by former prime minister and ex-Smer member Peter Pellegrini, has been coming in third in opinion polls and could become a kingmaker.
Are you following Slovakia’s election? We want to hear from you. Send comments to [email protected].