Home Economy News Slovaks vote in presidential election that might bolster PM Fico

Slovaks vote in presidential election that might bolster PM Fico

by

Slovaks vote in presidential election that might bolster PM Fico By Reuters

Breaking News

‘;

Economy

Published Mar 22, 2024 07:16PM ET
Updated Mar 23, 2024 10:41AM ET

5/5
© Reuters. Election?posters show Slovak presidential candidates Peter Pellegrini and Ivan Korcok ahead of the presidential election, in Trencin, Slovakia, March 22, 2024. The posters read: “Let’s give Slovakia peace, pride and dignity” (Peter Pellegrini) and “To ser
2/5

By Radovan Stoklasa

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) -Slovaks vote in a presidential election on Saturday that could strengthen Prime Minister Robert Fico’s grip on power as he seeks more control over public media, softer anti-corruption laws and a dissenting voice to EU support for Ukraine.

Polls are open in the first round of voting until 10:00 p.m. (2100 GMT). A likely run-off between the top two candidates is due on April 6, if no one wins a majority this weekend.

Fico’s ally Peter Pellegrini, 48, has been a frontrunner in the race to replace President Zuzana Caputova, 50, who is a fierce opponent to Fico, although she is not seeking a new term.

Fico returned to power in an election last September after winning over voters with pledges to halt military aid to Ukraine in its fight against a Russian invasion, keep up spending to help people hit by price surges and end chaotic governance seen during a previous opposition-led administration.

Pellegrini, a former prime minister and ex-member of Fico’s leftist SMER party and who is now the head of junior coalition partner HLAS, is hoping to duplicate Fico’s success.

He said on Saturday the direction of the country was at stake with the ballot, with voters deciding on a president for the next five years “who will either cooperate with the government or put a brake on steps that are not in favour of the people.”

Among the nine candidates competing, Pellegrini is facing close rival Ivan Korcok, 59, a pro-EU former foreign minister who wants to prevent the government from gaining the president’s seat.

While Slovak presidents do not wield many executive powers, they have a role in government and judicial appointments, can veto laws and shape public debate as the liberal Caputova has often done.

Voters in the past have often rejected giving ruling parties both the government and presidential offices. Caputova won the last presidential election in 2019, riding an anti-corruption wave aimed at Fico’s party, which was in power then.

“(People) know what I represent… It is their decision now,” Korcok said after casting his vote.

UKRAINE SPLIT

Voters have become polarised in Slovakia in recent years amid a global pandemic, war in Ukraine and high inflation denting household budgets.

Fico, a four-time prime minister, has shifted policy quickly, ending state military supplies to Ukraine – while still allowing commercial supply deals – and opening dialogue with Moscow even as the EU isolates the Russian regime.

Pellegrini, like Fico, says the conflict in Ukraine does not have a military solution and supports peace talks between Kyiv and Moscow, something that Korcok, like other critics, call capitulation when parts of Ukraine are occupied.

Fico’s coalition government has also pushed through criminal law changes that critics say weaken the fight against corruption. Caputova, as president, has challenged the changes at the Constitutional Court.

The government has also shut a special prosecution unit, a move the European Commission criticised this week.

The government is now planning changes that will give it more control over public broadcaster RTVS, raising concern among media groups and advocates. Korcok has criticised the government’s push for more power.

Alena, a 40-year-old gastronomy worker, said Slovakia’s “bad direction” was guiding her vote. “We are sending bad signals to the world,” she said without naming her preferred candidate.

Slovaks vote in presidential election that might bolster PM Fico

Our Apps



Terms And Conditions
Privacy Policy
Risk Warning
Do not sell my personal information

© 2007-2024 Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.

Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.

Related News