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posted: 11/5/2017 7:00 AM

Slovak neo-Nazi leader defeated in regional election

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  • Banska Bystrica governor and far-right political leader Marian Kotleba speaks to journalists after casting his vote during the Slovak regional elections in Banska Bystrica, Central Slovakia, Saturday Nov. 4, 2017. The fight for new Banska Bystrica governor, in which far-right political leader Marian Kotleba is defending the post against businessman Jan Lunter, will be the most closely followed duel of the Slovak regional elections to be held on Saturday. (Jan Miskovsky/CTK via AP)

    Banska Bystrica governor and far-right political leader Marian Kotleba speaks to journalists after casting his vote during the Slovak regional elections in Banska Bystrica, Central Slovakia, Saturday Nov. 4, 2017. The fight for new Banska Bystrica governor, in which far-right political leader Marian Kotleba is defending the post against businessman Jan Lunter, will be the most closely followed duel of the Slovak regional elections to be held on Saturday. (Jan Miskovsky/CTK via AP)
    Associated Press

 
 

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia -- Slovakia's neo-Nazi parliamentary party suffered a blow after its chairman failed to get re-elected as the head of a regional government, according released Sunday.

Marian Kotleba heads People's Party Our Slovakia, which openly admires the Nazi puppet state that the country was during World War II. Party members use Nazi salutes, consider NATO a terror group and want the country out of the alliance and the European Union.

Four years ago, Kotleba shocked the country by winning in the central region of Banska Bystrica.

But in the regional election on Saturday, independent candidate Jan Lunter won the region with 48.5 percent of the vote, comprehensively beating Kotleba, who received 23.2 percent, Slovakia's Statistics Office said.

In an unprecedented move, most ruling coalition and opposition parties agreed to support Lunter to try to defeat Kotleba, whose party has had 14 lawmakers in the 150-seat parliament since last year's parliamentary election.

Slovakia's prosecutor general also asked the Supreme Court in May to ban the party after allegations that its goal is to destroy the country's democratic system.

Slovakia has eight regions. The results from Saturday's election were also a blow for the leftist Smer-Social Democracy of Prime Minister Robert Fico.

Hit by corruption scandals, Fico's party only won in two regions, down from six they claimed in the 2013 vote.

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