May 30, 2024

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Populist candidate Peter Pellegrini was clearly elected against pro-European Ivan Korcak

Populist candidate Peter Pellegrini was clearly elected against pro-European Ivan Korcak

In the wake of the suspension of Slovak military aid to Ukraine, the new president is an ally of Robert Fico's government.

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Peter Pellegrini, an ally of the populist government, won the presidential election in Rovinj (Slovakia) on April 6, 2023.  (Vladimir Simicek/AFP)

Populist government ally Peter Pellegrini won Slovakia's presidential election on Saturday April 6, according to figures released by the Slovak Statistics Office, which included 99.8% of the vote. He received 53.20% of the vote in the second round, far ahead of pro-European diplomat Ivan Korcak.

“It is a great satisfaction (…) I want to be a president who protects the national interests of Slovakia” Peter Pellegrini announced in a speech to his supporters. This trained economist promised to do everything “So Slovakia will be on the side of peace, not on the side of war”.

Limited powers

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has been a key element of the election campaign in the country of 5.4 million people, especially since populist Prime Minister Robert Fico, a longtime ally of the new president, has questioned Kiev's sovereignty and called for peace with Moscow. The current government, which has been in place since October, Mr. Fico's Smar-SD Party, Mr. Pellegrini's HLAS-SD party and the smaller far-right SNS party have also suspended military aid to neighboring Ukraine.

Peter Pellegrini was a minister in Robert Fico's previous governments. He replaced him as prime minister after his government collapsed in 2018. Although his powers are limited, the president ratifies international treaties, appoints key judges and is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. He can also veto laws passed by Parliament.

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