Slovakian presidential vote expected to elect progressive anti-establishment candidate

Slovakian presidential vote expected to elect progressive anti-establishment candidate

As expected, Zuzana Caputova decisively won the first round of Slovak presidential elections on March 16. The former environmental lawyer

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Photo: Reuters

As expected, Zuzana Caputova decisively won the first round of Slovak presidential elections on March 16. The former environmental lawyer turned liberal, anti-corruption activist decisively beat establishment candidate Maros Sefcovic—backed by the ruling Smer Party—by almost 22 points.

Ms Caputova appears set to become Slovakia’s first female president, with recent polling giving her some 60% of the vote.

The pro-European Caputova would bring strong anti-corruption credentials to the presidency. She fought a successful 14-year battle against an illegal dumpsite in Western Slovakia, a victory that brought her into the political limelight.

If Ms Caputova emerges victorious in the second round of elections today, she could not only fight corruption in her own country, but could also inspire a new brand of left-wing populism in Europe to counter the right-wing populism emerging in countries like Hungary and Poland.

Although the Slovak presidency is largely ceremonial, presidents retain the important power of approving of new governments and appointing judges. Keeping this in mind, if victorious, Ms Caputova would have about a year before the next round of Slovak parliamentary elections scheduled for March 2020. If she produces the results she has promised, she may contribute to significant Smer losses in this next vote.

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