Slovakia’s Elections : Anti-Corruption Candidate Wins First Round

Saturday 16th March, Slovakia voted to elect it president. Zuzana Caputova, Vice-Chairwoman of pro-EU Progressive Slovakia, wins the first round and will face Commission Vice-President Matos Sefcovic in final vote in a fortnight.

A new comer in politics

Zuzana Caputova does not have a political background at all. She is a lawyer and the week before, she won the largest share of votes in Slovakia’s presidential election. That made her the front-runner for the final round later this month. Her recipe is not very complicated. She has run campaign focused on tackling corruption. It has worked : she won almost 41% of the vote, well ahead of government candidate and EC Vice-President Matos Sefcovic on 18.7%, according to the national statistic office.

The two will face off in the final round on March 30.

A country shocked by murders

A year ago, Slovakia faced the murder of a journalist, Jan Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kusnirova. They were the first two journalists murdered in Slovakia since the country’s independence.

The murders caused shock and disbelief throughout the country, sparking mass popular protests and a political crisis. This crisis culminated on March 15 with the resignation of PM Fico (from Smer party) and his entire cabinet. In September 2018, Slovak police stated that Kuciak was murdered because of his investigated work, and that the murder had been ordered. Zuzana Caputova has decided to fight all that. She ran campaign under the slogan « Let’s fight evil together! », Bloomberg reported.

Portrait of a winner ?

Born in 1973, she did not want to enter into politics. She made law studies in order to become a lawyer. However, she has always been involved in social justice and anti-corruption. In 2016, Zuzana Caputova won an environmental prize after campaigning in her hometown of Pezinok, near Bratislava, to shut down a hazardous garbage dump.

In December 2017, she announced her entry into the emerging political party, Progressive Slovakia. In January 2018, she was elected as a Vice-Chairwoman at the party’s first congress.

Zuzana Caputova would be the first woman to hold the position if she wins in two weeks’ time. Stay tuned !

Chloé LOURENÇO