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Slovak constitutional referendum "for" or "against" early parliamentary elections is invalid due to low voter turnout.

This is according to the still partial results of the poll released shortly after 23:00 local time on the SME website.

It is clear from them that the voter turnout was well below the 50 percent required to declare Saturday's referendum to amend the constitution valid.

The referendum to change the constitution began on Saturday at 7am local time and voting continued until 10pm.

The full results will be officially announced at 9am local time.

In the past, only one in nine referendums met the 50 percent voter turnout criterion.

This was the 2003 referendum on Slovakia's accession to the EU, in which 52 percent of eligible Slovak voters participated.

Many parties called for a boycott of Saturday's referendum.

Slovakia votes in a referendum on the possibility of early elections

After losing a no-confidence vote in December, then-Prime Minister Eduard Heger ordered his government to resign.

Hoping for a fresh start, Heger first sought a new majority in parliament, but after failing to find one, he said a few days ago that he would seek early elections.

The vote could be held in September, but an earlier date - late spring or summer - is also possible.

Observers emphasized that the results of the referendum would not affect the date of future elections.

What it can do, however, is influence electoral preferences.

As it stands, the Slovak constitution does not allow the parliament, which is elected for a term of four years, to be dissolved early even if the government has fallen and there is no majority to form a new one.

The Basic Law grants this right only to the President of the country.

The referendum was prompted by the left-wing opposition, which submitted around 400,000 citizen signatures in support of the change.

Leaders of the Social Democratic Party argue that the need to amend the constitution has arisen due to the government crisis in the country in recent months.

The Social Democrats also demanded a popular vote for the immediate resignation of the center-right government, but Slovakia's Constitutional Court ruled that the wording was unconstitutional.