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NATO Exit Is Gaining Steam in Slovakia

So far 150,000 signatures to hold a withdrawal referendum have been gathered. 350,000 are needed

So far 150,000 Slovaks have signed a petition calling for a referendum on Slovakia's withdrawal from NATO. 350,000 signatures are needed to trigger a referendum in the country of 5.5 million people.

Signatures are being gathered by the right-wing eurosceptic party Kotleba - People's Party Our Slovakia. The petition was launched in July 2016, meaning it has been gathering about 15,000 signatures per month on average. At this pace there will be enough signatures to trigger a referendum sometime next year.

The country has been a scene of repeated small-scale protests against NATO in general, and in particular against NATO bases on Slovak soil.

In a 2016 poll 20 percent of Slovaks rejected NATO membership outright, while 47 percent stated they preferred neutrality to NATO. 55 percent opposed NATO bases on Slovak soil, and 59 percent saw the US role in Europe and the world in a negative light. 60 percent thought NATO is how US controls smaller states.

Slovakia is a Slavic country which harbors no enmity to Russia. It joined NATO in 2004 without a referendum on membership.

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