Slovakia 2009: Runoff
The runoff of the Slovakian presidential election was held yesterday. The runoff opposed the incumbent, Ivan Gašparovič, supported a majority of the current left-wing/nationalist government, to the moderate centre-right and Hungarian opposition, represented by Iveta Radičová.
The results are as follows:
Ivan Gašparovič (HZD-Smer-SNS) 55.53%
Iveta Radičová (SDKÚ-DS-MKP-KDH) 44.47%
Slovakia is quite polarized. Radičová ended up winning all counties won by the Hungarian Coalition (MKP) in 2006, and a huge majority of the counties she won were won by the MKP in 2006. Her voter base is therefore largely Hungarian, but she is also strong in the capital, Bratislava and other urban areas. Gašparovič is quite strong in rural inner Slovakia, and he effectively eaten up what remains of Mečiar’s 2004 base. He got some of his biggest victories in Mečiar’s strongest areas. On the other hand, he lost some of the counties (such as the Hungarian ones and Bratislava, for example) he won in 2004 purely because he was the least-worst or least-fascist candidate then. Which is probably not true today.
Although this is a ceremonial position, the President has veto power, and Gašparovič’s victory is therefore good news for the Robert Fico government and ensures that Fico will finish his term with a friendly President in office. Not that Gašparovič’s is all that surprising. It was quite inevitable. For starters, Gašparovič is personally popular for his non-confrontational style in office (even though Gašparovič’s personal party, the HZD, continues to poll crumbs). Second, Fico’s government and especially Smer is very popular and is assured, unless there’s something drastic, of a huge victory in the next election which could potentially allow Fico and Smer to tell their fascist junion coalition partners to go screw themselves. Fico (and Smer)’s support of Gašparovič helped him, in addition to his personal popularity. A Radičová victory was, for those reasons, very unlikely.