Europe

Slovak PM Robert Fico survives no confidence vote

FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2016 file photo, Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico arrives for the EU summit in Brussels. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has survived a parliamentary no-confidence vote on Friday Feb. 17, 2017, requested by the opposition over high energy prices. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2016 file photo, Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico arrives for the EU summit in Brussels. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has survived a parliamentary no-confidence vote on Friday Feb. 17, 2017, requested by the opposition over high energy prices. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys, File)  (The Associated Press)

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.