The first round of the Slovakian presidential election was held yesterday. Despite it being a largely ceremonial position, Slovakia’s president is directly elected by the people since 1999. Before 1999, the Parliament elected the President.
In 2004, Ivan Gašparovič of the small Movement for Democracy (HZD) defeated his former ally and Prime Minister, the controversial Vladimír Mečiar of the People’s Party – Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (ĽS-HZDS).
Ivan Gašparovič, seen as a moderate nationalist by most, is running for re-election supported by his small HZD (which has no MPs) but also by Smer, a left-wing nationalist party and the largest party in government, and by it’s quasi-fascist junior coalition partner, the Slovak National Party (SNS). Iveta Radičová, a former cabinet minister in a centre-right cabinet has united all the parliamentary opposition, led by the centre-right Slovak Democratic and Christian Union – Democratic Party (SDKÚ-DS). Radičová is also supported by the Hungarian Coalition (SMK-MKP), the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), and the extra-parliamentary Civic Conservatives. Other candidates include František Mikloško of the Conservative Democrats (split off the KDH), Zuzana Martináková of the liberal Free Forum, Milan Melník supported by Mečiar’s collapsing ĽS-HZDS (the third party in the Smer-SNS coalition), Milan Sidor supported by the Communist Party (KSS) and Dagmar Bollová (former KSS member).
The electoral commission decided that to win the first round, a candidate must win 50%+1, but also a majority of eligible voters.
The results of the first round are:
Ivan Gašparovič (HZD-Smer-SNS) 46.71%
Iveta Radičová (SDKÚ-DS-MKP-KDH) 38.05%
František Mikloško (KDS) 5.42%
Zuzana Martináková (SF) 5.12%
Milan Melník (ĽS-HZDS) 2.45%
Dagmara Bollová (ex-KSS) 1.14%
Milan Sidor (KSS) 1.11%
Looking at it geographically, Radičová is the Hungarian areas + Bratislava. Banská Bystrica, that blue county in the centre is weird. But she only won it by a very thin margin. Of Radičová’s victories, only 5 of the 14 counties she won did not vote for the MKP (Hungarian Coalition) in 2006. It also seems as if Gašparovič ate up Mečiar’s 2004 support base in northern and northeastern Slovakia.
Gašparovič is quite popular and will probably win in the runoff. And he’ll probably win big. Sadly.