31. 03. 2019 00:23
Liberal and pro-European lawyer and anti-corruption activist Zuzana Čaputová won the second round of the presidential elections on Saturday with 58.4 percent of the votes thus becoming the first woman president in Slovakia's history. Her opponent diplomat Maroš Šefčovič gathered 41.5 percent of the votes. The turnout was 41.8 %.
"I am glad that today we see that someone can be successful with her own ideas, without using an aggressive language and without appealing to populism," said Zuzana Čaputová in her victory speech. She has added that she wants to be the president of all people, even those who did not vote for her.
Šefčovič received his defeat with fair-play.
"We have had our differences during the campaign but I have told her that now it's important to unite the society in order to face the challenges Slovakia has in front of it," said Šefčovič adding that he returns to diplomacy but will also think about how to capitalize the support shown by voters in the presidential election.
Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (Smer-SD) whose party supported Šefčovič in the campaign congratulated Zuzana Čaputová on her victory late on Saturday. "I hope for a constructive cooperation in addressing Slovakia's problems," Pellegrini said in a statement.
Zuzana Čaputová will replace outgoing President Andrej Kiska in mid-June.
Who is Zuzana Čaputová?
Born in Bratislava on June 21, 1973 Zuzana Čaputová studied law at the Comenius University in Bratislava. She worked in the legal department at Pezinok Town Hall (a town near Bratislava) before joining the non-governmental organisation Via Iuris as a lawyer. Her name is linked to a successful struggle against an illegal landfill site in Pezinok. For 14 years she actively led a public campaign to prevent the authorisation of the waste dump that would be a significant source of pollution. For her role in the case she was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2016. In September 2017 she announced that she was leaving the Via Iuris team while continuing to practice law, specialising in environmental issues.
She was also active in collecting signatures for a petition demanding the cancelling of Vladimir Mečiar's 1998 amnesties related to the kidnapping of former President Michal Kováč's son and the murder in 1996 of Róbert Remiáš, who served as a contact for a key witness of the abduction.
Zuzana Čaputová has run for president with the support of the non-parliamentary Progressive Slovakia party. After the first round of the elections she resigned from her post as Progressive Slovakia's vice-chair.