The opposition Christian Democrats (KDH) said on Monday they would not form a coalition with Slovakia's ruling leftist SMER party after elections in June, narrowing the SMER's chances of forming a new government.
The country will hold a general election on June 12 which the SMER led by Prime Minister Robert Fico is poised to win, but may find it difficult to form a majority coalition.
The latest opinion poll showed that he may even be squeezed out by a wide, five-party centre-right coalition of opposition factions.
The country, which joined the euro zone last year, needs to slash its budget deficit, axe high jobless rate, boost law enforcement and improve the business environment. Corruption remains a burning issue, according to opposition parties.
The Christian Democrats (KDH) said they preferred a wide opposition coalition to any cooperation with Fico.
"KDH will not enter a post-election government relationship with SMER," Jan Figel, head of the Christian Democrats, told reporters.
"We will do all that is possible for the victory of a centre-right alternative."
The Christian Democrats' announcement came just a day after Figel said coalition with SMER remained a possibility, although only as a last resort.
Leader Iveta Radicova of the strongest opposition party, the centre-right SDKU, told Reuters on Saturday her party would also not cut a deal with Fico.
Fico has ruled with the far-right Slovak National Party (SNS) and with the centre-right HZDS of former Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, whose policies isolated Slovakia in the 1990s.
The two coalition partners have lost popularity and Fico may not be able to recreate the coalition.
Two opposition parties representing the ethnic Hungarian minority, the SMK and Most-Hid -- words meaning "bridge" in the two languages -- have not said so far if they are willing to join a Fico cabinet.
A survey by FOCUS agency showed last Friday that backing for the SMER had fallen 1.5 percentage points from a month before to 35.3 percent, slightly narrowing its lead ahead of the SDKU which gained 0.6 points to 14.0 percent.
The poll showed five centre-right parties, the SDKU, Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), KDH, SMK and Most-Hid, would win 75 seats in the 150-seat parliament, creating a perfect stalemate.
The result is however highly uncertain given the margin of error for each party. Four parties polled only slightly above the 5 percent threshold needed to win parliamentary seats.
ReutersLast Mod: 24 Mayıs 2010, 21:30