An environmentalist lawyer becomes Slovakia's first female president.


01/04/2019

The environmentalist lawyer Zuzana Caputova has been elected president of Slovakia. She is the first woman that has Access to the Head of State in the little post-communist country, member of the EU and the NATO since 2004. “I celebrate my victory and that it has come in a way that a lot of people doubted,” stated Caputova in her first speech after prevailing with the 58% of the votes against the diplomatic MarosSefcovic, vice-president of the European Commission, who competed as independent, but supported by the governmental social democratic partySmer.

“Decency in politics is not a signof weakness, but of strength,” has also said the lawyer, who began her speech with the 4 most spoken-languages of the country: Slovak, Hungarian, Romanian and Czech.

The new president has a strong pro-European orientation, with emphasis on ecology and strengthening of the rule of law and justice.

There has not been a massive influx in the polls. The participation was barely of the 42% in some elections that were to elect between the 2 most-voted candidates in the first round, celebrated 2 weeks ago. The candidates of the rightist populism obtained a 25% of the votes, but they were left out of the final round.

“I congratulated her (Caputova) and told her that from now on she has a big responsibility. Despite the turbulent campaign, these are times of unity in Slovakia,” said Sefcovic after accepting the defeat.
Caputova, who is 45 years, will be the successor of the entrepreneur and philanthropist Andrej Kiska, who finished his presidency of 5 years in June, during which he maintained tense relationships with the Executive Power,whose majority coalition is the Social Democratic. The new president has been very critic in the way that the government managed the crisis created because of the assassination of the journalist Jan Kuciak, who was investigating the links of organized crime with the high field of power”.

The assassination of Kuciak produced a massive wave of protests from the civil society, to which the head of state joined, amid indignation over the slow progress in police training on crime and the corruption scandal that revealed the work of the reporter.Caputova, who collaborated with Kuciakin the investigation of several cases of corruption, attended all the street demonstrations. During the campaign, the lawyer asked to "face the evil", alluding to the tentacles of the mafia in high politics.

The Prime Minister, the Social Democrat Robert Pellegrini, has wished for "good cooperation" with the new tenant of the Palace of Grassal, seat of the presidency. Pellegrini has acknowledged that a situation of "turbulence" persists in the country after the murder of Kuciak, and whose perpetrators have not yet sat in the dock. Not only has the scandal discredited the authorities, but it also has caused the mistrust of the citizenship towards the police, prosecutors, judges and the Government.

Translator: Camila Vicente