Analysts expect the March 10 parliamentary elections in the euro zone’s second poorest country to end the rule of the four-party, center-right coalition led by Prime Minister Iveta Radicova. It recently cut growth forecasts for the export-reliant economy and faces a 13.6% jobless rate. The 150-seat contest could return former Prime Minister Robert Fico’s Direction-Social Democracy Party to power. “If Fico’s second premiership resembles his previous term in office, then it could herald a change in the emphasis of Slovak foreign policy as Bratislava casts a cooler eye on Washington and adopts a less confrontational stance toward the E.U.,” notes the Center for European Policy Analysis. Reuters predicts any new government will struggle to cut the fiscal deficit to below the E.U.’s 3% limit in 2013 as pledged.
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