Start voting in the presidential elections in Slovakia

Start voting in the presidential elections in Slovakia

The polling stations of Slovakia have opened this Saturday at 0600 GMT for the second round of the presidential elections, in which they face the liberal lawyer Zuzana Caputova and the vice-president of the European Commission Maros Sefcovic.

Caputova, 45 years old and without political experience, is a clear favorite in the polls with up to 60% of the support and can become the first woman to reach the presidency of this country of the European Union (EU) of 5.4 millions of inhabitants.

Sefcovic, 52, is the candidate backed by the ruling social democratic party and brings together conservative votes.

Some 4.4 million Slovaks are being called to the polls to elect, by universal suffrage and for a term of five years, the replacement of liberal President Andreij Kiska, who has openly supported Caputova.

The lawyer won the first round of the presidential elections with 40.5% against Sefcovic, who achieved 18.7%.

Caputova's message of political regeneration and fight against corruption has caught on in a country that took to the streets to protest the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak in February 2018, when he was investigating the links between organized crime and political power.

Caputova, a lawyer known for fighting against the installation of a huge landfill on the outskirts of Bratislava, also took to the streets to protest the murder of Kuciak and has epitomized the desire for change and renewal of much of the urban electorate.

In 2016, his 14 years of efforts to paralyze that unpopular landfill were recognized with the prestigious Goldman Prize, a kind of Nobel for environmental defenders.

It is the fifth time that Slovakia, which regained its political freedoms in 1989 when it was still part of Czechoslovakia and then split from the federation in 1993, elects its head of state directly.

Although the position of president is rather formal, some analysts believe that these elections will decide between the continuity of a political system dominated for almost a decade by the Social Democratic Party (SMER) or the winds of change.


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