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Slovakia. Presidential elections. Ivan Korczok, Peter Pellegrini tipped in polls

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The presidential elections are underway in Slovakia. Political scientists agree that the stakes of Saturday's vote are very high. Polls indicate that the greatest chances of replacing Zuzana Czaputova are Peter Pellegrini, associated with populist Prime Minister Robert Fico, and Ivan Korczok, a former diplomat indicated as a guarantor of Slovakia's pro-Western course.

On Saturday at 7 a.m., polling stations opened in Slovakia, which is to elect the successor of President Zuzana Czaputova. Polls leave no doubt that another vote will be needed in two weeks. The differences between the first two candidates are minimal.

You can only vote within the country. No provisions have been introduced regarding postal elections. President Zuzana Czaputova resigned from the fight for re-election. Her five-year mandate expires in mid-June.

Zuzana Czaputova is not seeking re-electionVit Simanek/CTK/PAP/EPA

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The greatest support for two candidates

The elections concern nine candidates. Of the original group of 11 people accepted by the electoral commission, two withdrew.

Of the remaining ones, the greatest support comes from former Prime Minister and current Speaker of Parliament Peter Pellegrini, who is the most popular politician in Slovakia, and former Minister of Foreign Affairs and previously diplomat Ivan Korczok. Each of them has support of over 30 percent, and the differences between them are within the margin of statistical error.

Presidential elections in Slovakia. “The government team wants absolute power”Jakub Loska/Fakty o Świecie TVN24/BiS

The guarantor of the pro-Western course is Ivan Korczok. – I want Slovakia to be European not only in terms of values, but also in terms of quality of life. Friends, we must tell ourselves the truth: the government team wants absolute power, said Ivan Korczok, candidate for president of Slovakia.

Read also: Presidential elections in Slovakia. “The government team wants absolute power”

Peter Pellegrini, a political protégé of pro-Kremlin Prime Minister Robert Fico, claims that he is not for Russia, but only for peace in neighboring Ukraine and against military aid for Kiev. – My colleagues and I will talk about peace, regardless of whether someone likes it or not. No sensible politician should be ashamed of trying to spread peace slogans, says Pellegrini.

Peter Pellegrini and Ivan KorczokVaclav Salek/CTK/PAP/EPA

Just before the Slovak elections, the VSquare website published the results of a journalistic investigation, which shows that in 2020, as prime minister, before the upcoming elections, Pellegrini decided that he would need the votes of pro-Russian voters, so he decided to pay a visit to Moscow. He asked Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban for help in organizing the meeting at the Kremlin.

"The Hungarian government plays the role of secretary to the Russian authorities".  The Slovak Prime Minister wanted to use this in the campaign

“The Hungarian government plays the role of a secretary to the Russian authorities.” The Slovak Prime Minister wanted to use this in the campaignJakub Loska/Fakty o Świecie TVN24 BiS

Presidential elections in Slovakia

Political scientists agree that the stakes of Saturday's vote are very high. The future president, who will most likely be elected in two weeks, may support the decisions of the current executive power, or may try to balance them, if not negate, to a modest extent, the powers of the Slovak head of state.

According to experts, Pellegrini and Korczok's competitors have no chance of winning, but the vote will show how much support they have that they will be able to give to the two main candidates.

See also: The European Commission warns Slovakia after the liquidation of the Special Prosecutor's Office

From this point of view, the most interesting thing will be how Sztefan Harabin, former Minister of Justice and former head of the Slovak Supreme Court, will fare in Saturday's vote. He claims that Russia is not an aggressor towards Ukraine, it wants Slovakia to be neutral and financial aid to Kiev to be suspended. Even before Saturday's round of elections, in which he may get over 10 percent. votes, he won the support of two candidates who resigned from the elections. These are: the chairman of the smallest formation in the ruling coalition of the Slovak National Party, SNS, Andrej Danko, and the head of the extra-parliamentary Slovak Renaissance Movement, Robert Szvec. Their support was below one percent.

Ukrainian issues important in the election campaign

Experts estimate that Ukraine was a very important topic of the election campaign, and the main rivals unanimously agreed that it needed help. – There is agreement among them that Russia is an aggressor and that it is necessary to seek solutions that would lead to a just peace. They agree on this, but not on how it can be achieved, Slovak political scientist Marian Sekyrak told PAP. In his opinion, Pellegrini lacked a clear presence before the elections, as he practically did not campaign.

– He had billboards that made him smile. He didn't need anything else, and the “dirty work” was done for him by Prime Minister Robert Fico, said the political scientist.

Grigorii Meseżnikov from the Institute of Social Affairs made the matter clear in an interview with PAP: “Peter Pellegrini is an organic and very active part of the process carried out by Fico's government of undermining the rule of law, separation of powers, purges in the police and so on.” Meseżnikov believes that if Korczok wins, he will have no influence on the government's policy, but he will try to be a counterweight to him.

Main photo source: Vaclav Salek/CTK/PAP/EPA

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