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Peter Pellegrini new president of Slovakia

Photo: Denes Erdos Associated Press Peter Pellegrini, an economist by training, obtained 53.20% of the votes against 46.80% for Ivan Korcok.

Laszlo Juhasz – Agence France-Presse to Bratislava

7:50 p.m.

  • Europe

The ally of the populist government Peter Pellegrini won the presidential election in Slovakia on Saturday, well ahead of pro-European diplomat Ivan Korcok in the second round, according to almost final results.

Mr. Pellegrini, an economist by training, received 53.20% of the vote to Mr. Korcok's 46.80%, according to figures published by the Slovak Statistical Office covering 99.8% of the vote.

Analysts expected a tighter result.

“It’s a great satisfaction,” Mr. Pellegrini said in a speech to supporters.

“I want to be a president who will defend the national interests of Slovakia,” he emphasized.

He assured that he wanted to do everything “so that Slovakia remains on the side of peace and not on the side of war”.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has been a key element of the election campaign in the country of 5.4 million people, particularly since populist Prime Minister Robert Fico, an ally long-time leader of Mr. Pellegrini, questioned Kiev's sovereignty and called for peace with Moscow.

Mr. Pellegrini was a minister in Mr. Fico’s previous governments. He even replaced him as prime minister after the fall of his government in 2018, following the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée, shot dead in their home.

The double murder sparked a wave of protests across the country that forced Mr. Fico to resign.

In his last article, published posthumously, Mr. Kuciak revealed links between the Italian mafia and the Fico government.

The “Orban Way” ?

In place since October, the current government made up of Mr. Fico's Smer-SD party, Mr. Pellegrini's Hlas-SD party and the small far-right SNS party, has also interrupted the military aid to neighboring Ukraine.

“If Pellegrini wins, Slovakia could follow the ‘Orban path,'” said analyst Tomas Koziaka, referring to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who favors the Kremlin.

Mr. Korcok admitted defeat and congratulated his opponent.

“I would like to congratulate the winner of the election, Peter Pellegrini,” this former foreign minister told the press and his supporters.

He also expressed his hope that “Peter Pellegrini will be independent and that he will act according to his own convictions and without orders”, clearly alluding to the close relationship between the future president and the head of government Robert Fico.

But he also criticized his opponent for “a non-transparent campaign”.

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“It turns out that it is possible to become president of the Slovak Republic by spreading hatred,” he said, criticizing Mr. Pellegrini and his camp for introducing him during the campaign as a “war candidate”, favorable to Slovakia's involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.

Mr. Pellegrini will replace liberal President Zuzana Caputova.

Although his powers are limited, the president ratifies international treaties, appoints key judges, and is commander in chief of the armed forces. He can also veto laws passed by Parliament.

Mr. Pellegrini will officially become Slovak President on June 15.

This bachelor was dubbed “the sexiest politician in Slovakia” by women's magazines some time ago.

When announcing his candidacy, he said he lived alone, adding: “If I am elected president, I will not be accompanied by a first lady or anyone else. »

In addition to his native language, Mr. Pellegrini speaks Russian, German and English.

Turnout in the second round of voting was 61.12% on Saturday.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116