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Feb 17, 6:04 AM EST

Slovak PM Robert Fico survives no confidence vote


BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) -- Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has survived a parliamentary no-confidence vote requested by the opposition over high energy prices.

Following a heated discussion, 60 lawmakers voted to oust Fico early on Friday, while 70 were against. The result was expected because the coalition government led by Fico's leftist Smer-Social Democracy holds a parliamentary majority.

Fico came under fire after new rules for calculating energy prices set by a state regulatory body resulted in higher prices of electricity and natural gas for consumers this year.

It was embarrassing for Fico, a populist leader who believes in a strong state role in the economy and promised to keep energy prices stable.

The new rules have already been canceled and the head of the regulatory office has resigned.

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