Senior ruling party suffers losses in Slovak local elections

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Independent candidates won the most seats in Slovakia’s local elections, while the senior ruling party of former populist Prime Minister Robert Fico suffered losses.

It was the first election since massive anti-government protests triggered by the slaying of an investigative journalist forced the collapse of Fico’s government. The same three coalition parties created a new government.

Investigators have linked Jan Kuciak’s death to his work probing possible widespread government corruption.

Independent candidates won over 42 percent of mayors’ seats in Saturday’s vote. Fico’s Smer-Social Democracy did not win in any regional city, but remains the strongest force with 20 percent, compared to 30 percent in the 2014 election.

President Andrej Kiska, Fico’s rival, said the results published Sunday show people want a change.

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