BRATISLAVA: Liberal environmental activist and lawyer Zuzana Caputova was inaugurated on Saturday as the first female president of Slovakia.
Caputova took the oath of office at a special session of parliament, becoming Slovakia’s fifth president since it gained independence after the split of Czechoslovakia in 1993.
The 45-year-old has little experience in politics but attracted voters who are appalled by corruption and mainstream politics. Her election to the largely ceremonial post defied a wave of gains for far right populists across Europe.
“I’m not here to rule, I’m here to serve, “Caputova said in her inauguration speech.
A lawyer by profession, Caputova became known for leading a successful fight against a toxic waste dump in her hometown of Pezinok, for which she received the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2016.
A divorced mother of two, she is in favour of gay rights and opposes a ban on abortion in this conservative Roman Catholic country.
She only recently became vice chairman of Progressive Slovakia, a new pro-EU party that won the recent European Parliament election in Slovakia Caputova resigned from her party post after winning the first round of the presidential vote.
Like her popular predecessor Andrej Kiska, who didn’t run for a second term, she is firmly supporting Slovakia’s membership in the European Union and Nato.
She said the EU and Nato give her country “happiness and privilege that (previous) generations could only dream of.” Kiska backed Caputova in the presidential vote in March when she beat European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic in a runoff vote.
Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2019