Slovakia Election: Fico's Smer Party Tipped to Win

Polls open soon in Slovakia's general election, with former prime minister Robert Fico tipped to emerge as the winner.

Polls open soon in Slovakia's general election, with former prime minister Robert Fico tipped to emerge as the winner.

Slovak police officers arrest protesters as they disperse the crowd during an election protest in Bratislava March 9, 2012,

Opinion polls show Mr Fico's Smer social democrats poised to heavily defeat outgoing PM Iveta Radicova's centre-right SDKU.

However, analysts predict a low turnout with many voters disillusioned by corruption scandals.

Anti-corruption protesters clashed with police in Bratislava on Friday.

Protest organisers called on Slovaks not to vote for the established political parties, which they say have all been tainted by scandal.

About 300 demonstrators pelted police with stones and eggs and officers used tear gas to keep them from storming parliament.

The election comes two years' early after an SDKU-led coalition collapsed last October when one of its junior members refused to back the expansion of the eurozone's bailout fund.

Protesters run to escape as Slovak police officers disperse the crowd during an election protest in Bratislava March 9, 2012,

However, at the heart of the recent unrest is a file known as "Gorilla" - allegedly compiled by Slovakia's spy agency - that appeared on the internet in December suggesting that the financial group Penta bribed most parties in the 1998-2006 centre-right government of then-Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda.

With the SDKU badly damaged by the scandal, the most recent opinion polls show Mr Fico is likely to win about 39% of the vote and take 75 seats, just one short of a majority in the 150-member parliament.

The SDKU, on the other hand, is expected to see support drop to about 5% - the threshold to enter parliament.

Polls open at 06:00 GMT and close at 21:00 GMT.