Slovakia: Pellegrini wins presidential election

Pellegrini won 54 percent of the vote after almost all votes were counted, according to figures from the Slovak Statistics Office on Saturday evening. According to preliminary reports, Korgok was defeated with around 46 percent of the votes and has already conceded his defeat.

According to preliminary reports, voter turnout was nearly 60 percent, up from 52 percent in the first round on March 23. “It's not about the future direction of foreign policy,” Pellegrini vowed when voting in the second round of elections on Saturday. Slovakia will continue to be a “strong member of the European Union and NATO”.

Alliance with Smr

Once his Hellas party entered a coalition with Prime Minister Robert Fico and his Smar party, Pellegrini became politically prominent in Smar and split with his own party in 2020, essentially a “guardian” and guarantor. The pro-European trend seen by the government. But he couldn't keep this promise — and it had consequences: In March, the neighboring Czech Republic decided to cancel planned government consultations with the Slovak cabinet over its Russia policy.

A staunch supporter of Ukraine, Korgok ran as an independent candidate. However, the 60-year-old was supported by opposition parties. In the first round of voting at the end of March, Pellegrini won 37 percent of the vote, while Korcak was still ahead with 42 percent. Stephen Harabin, who represented the pro-Russian trend like Pellegrini, came third with twelve percent of the vote.

A very polarized country

Slovakia is a highly polarized country, and friendships and families are often divided. Behind Korcak is part of a community that has rallied repeatedly for anti-government protests in all the country's major cities since late last year, and is concerned about the country's course under political veteran Figo and his new left-wing nationalist government. Summer party.

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In parliamentary elections in the fall, the left-wing populist returned to form a government for a fourth term. The political misfortunes and missteps of the previous government helped him return to power, along with the spread of pro-Russian disinformation and fears that Slovakia could be drawn into war in neighboring Ukraine.

Figo's Authoritarian Tendency

Soon after taking office, Fico began to transform Slovakia according to his own ideas and move it increasingly towards an authoritarian, Russia-friendly course, following the example of Viktor Orbán in Hungary. Fico also cut off government military aid to neighboring Ukraine, which was attacked by Russia, because it only meant a continuation of the war, when he was for peace, he argued.

He replaced the leadership of the police and key state officials and in December launched a controversial judicial reform that the liberal opposition and the EU Commission see as a threat to the rule of law in Slovakia. At the request of outgoing President Zuzana Caputova, the Constitutional Court has now temporarily suspended parts of the reform.

In fact, mainly representative tasks

Recently, Fico and his government have been accused of attacking press freedom. The opposition camp fears that Pellegrini, as president, will only be an extension of Figo in the presidential palace. In fact, the president in Slovakia has mainly delegation functions.

However, its importance increases in times of crisis. For example, he can appoint a cabinet of experts according to his ideas, as Kabutova did after the fall of Eduard Heger's right-wing conservative government the previous year. Due to frequent verbal attacks from the government camp against him and his family, he did not want to contest for a second term.

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