Slovakia: Caputova wins first round of Presidential Election
Zuzana Caputova, a Slovak environmentalist has inched closer to becoming the first female President as she has won the first round of elections thereby pointing at a huge change for a nation which has fallen to growing corruption ever since it was established in 1993. Caputova has won 40.56 per cent votes from among 13 candidates with reporting from over 99 per cent of the districts. Caputova has also surpassed Maros Sefcovic who is the vice president of the European Commission, which is supported by centre-left Direction-Social Democracy (Smer-SD) party which has won the second position bagging 18.66 per cent vote. Both the leaders will be competing in a runoff election which is slated for March 30.
The result actually follows a ruthless campaign from Caputova who is a lawyer and has no experience of public office and has fought for years to clean a highly deadly landfill. Caputova had announced her candidacy a year before and she had launched an astronomical rise in polls as the other anti-corruption candidate facing the government has become very unpopular ever since the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak in 2018.
Caputova told the reporters that “I see a strong call for change in this election following the tragic events last spring. We stand on a crossroads between the loss and renewal of public trust”.
The total population of the country is 5.54 million and only half of the voters were voting in the elections, it is virtually impossible for any candidate to register an outright win the very first round of the election. As per the election rules of Slovakia, a candidate should bag at least 50 per cent of the all the votes and not just the ones who participated.
Various political experts have stated that the first round victory of Caputova is a grave challenge to the present political establishment of Slovakia which is under the Smer-SD party. The overall mood in Slovakia has taken a sea-change after the murders of the journalists Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova in 2018. The case soon rose to the limelight as Kuciak was found dead near his house while he was investigating a connection between Italy’s Ndrangheta crime block and many officials at high-ranks in the government. The murders of both Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova had led to nationwide protests in the country, a few months before their wedding. These were the largest protests ever since Slovakia ever since the Velvet Revolution of 1989.