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Ally of Russia-friendly leader wins Slovak presidential election

by Olena Goncharova April 7, 2024 5:49 AM 2 min read
Peter Pellegrini, Slovakia's former prime minister, center, at an election night watch party in Bratislava, Slovakia, on April 6, 2024. (Michaela Nagyidaiova/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico, known for his friendly stance towards Russia and firm opposition to providing military aid to Ukraine, is set to consolidate his hold on power following the victory of his ally in the country's presidential election.

Peter Pellegrini, Slovakia's former prime minister, garnered 53.85% of the vote, with over 98% of polling stations' ballots counted by the Statistics Office in the April 6 runoff election. A pro-Western opposition candidate, Ivan Korcok, a former foreign minister, trailed behind with 46.14%.

Pellegrini said in Bratislava that he would "ensure that Slovakia remains on the side of peace and not on the side of war," according to the Guardian.

Pellegrini assumed the role of Slovakia's sixth president since the nation's independence following the split of Czechoslovakia in 1993. He will take over from Zuzana Caputova, the country's inaugural female head of state. Caputova, a strong supporter of Ukraine in its resistance against Russia's invasion, opted not to seek re-election.

In Slovakia, the president selects the prime minister following parliamentary elections, administers the oath of office to the new government, and nominates judges to the constitutional court. The president holds the authority to veto legislation, although parliament can override such vetoes with a simple majority and contest them in the constitutional court. Additionally, the head of state retains the power to grant pardons to convicted individuals.

Critics expressed concerns that Slovakia, under Fico's leadership, could deviate from its pro-Western trajectory and align more closely with Hungary's direction under its populist Prime Minister, Viktor Orban.

Slovak culture minister reverses ban on working with Russia, Belarus
The ministry issued the ban on communicating and cooperating with both countries a week after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24, 2022. This did not affect the performances of Russian artists or organizations that spoke out against the war.
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