Zuzana Caputova on track to become Slovakia’s first woman president

Published March 18, 2019
Bratislava: Leading presidential candidate Zuzana Caputova takes part in a television debate on Sunday, one day after the first round of the presidential elections.—AFP
Bratislava: Leading presidential candidate Zuzana Caputova takes part in a television debate on Sunday, one day after the first round of the presidential elections.—AFP

BRATISLAVA: Government critic Zuz­a­na Caputova secured a huge first-round win over the ruling party candidate in Slovakia’s weekend election, putting her one step closer to becoming the country’s first female president.

Official results showed Caputova securing more than twice the votes of her rival Maros Sefcovic, suggesting the electorate had shunned the political establishment following last year’s shock murder of an investigative journalist probing corruption.

The liberal environmental lawyer, who secured 40 percent of the vote, is almost certain to win the March 30 run-off against European Commission vice-president Sefcovic, who took just 19 percent.

The outcome is likely to spell trouble for the governing Smer-SD ahead of next year’s general election.

“Caputova has such a large lead that Sefcovic would have to attract nearly all the unsuccessful candidates’ voters and that is improbable,” Bratislava-based analyst Grigorij Meseznikov said.

“By choosing Caputova, people have strongly called for change for the better in accordance with the values of liberal democracy,” he said.

“Those who want continuity and Sm­er-SD to remain in power are in the clear minority.”

Running on a slogan of “Stand up to evil,” the divorced mother of two had joined tens of thousands of protesters who took to the streets after the killing of journalist Jan Kuciak who was investigating political corruption.

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2019

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