Leftist opposition wins big in Slovakia election

By KAREL JANICEK | March 10, 2012 | 10:35 PM EST

Robert Fico, chairman of the SMER-Social Democracy party smiles after the first exit polls for Slovakia's early general elections were announced ,at the party's headquarters in Bratislava, Slovakia, Saturday, March 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Preliminary results show a leftist opposition party in Slovakia is heading for a landslide victory in an early parliamentary election.

With the votes from about two thirds of all polling stations counted by the Statistics Office early Sunday, Smer-Social Democracy of former Prime Minister Robert Fico is a clear winner with 46 percent of the vote, or 86 seats in the 150-seat Parliament.

The result would allow Fico to govern alone.

Fico, a populist leader, is pledging to maintain a welfare state, increase corporate tax and hike income tax for the highest earners.

The outgoing center-right, four-party coalition would combine for just 48 seats as it faced voter anger over a major corruption scandal. The new Ordinary People would win 16 seats.