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OPPOSITION LEADERS CELEBRATE EXIT POLL RESULTS

Opposition leaders celebrated exit poll results Saturday from national elections as they scheduled talks to begin building a coalition to replace Slovakia's autocratic government.

Actual results, however, weren't expected until today, and Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar's ruling party wasn't conceding defeat.

"We are going to win in spite of all the polls," party Vice Chairman Sergej Kozlik said. Even a "win" doesn't mean the party will rule, but whichever one tops the list of 17 competing for seats has the first formal chance to try to put together a leadership coalition.

Meciar and his party have ruled largely uninterrupted and unchallenged since the country became independent from the former Czechoslovakia in January 1993.

Two series of exit polls seemed to bear out what analysts had predicted: Meciar's nationalist Movement for a Democratic Slovakia has little chance to form a strong enough coalition to stay in power.

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