Commentary Elections

Second round of Slovak presidential race begins

The Presidential elections in Slovakia are just a week away and the crucial phase, the contest for the second round, has just begun.

In sports, second place is usually seen as the most disappointing result, but it seems like the runner-up position is what this election race is all about. The plan is to make it to the second round and then collect votes from everyone who dislikes Čaputová. Because so far, she is the clear front runner, polling above 50 percent.

Civil activist Čaputová warns against a divided society and calls for unity. In a debate on TV Markíza, she was describing the campaign as a challenge, as to whether voters still believe in democracy. Slovakia will be a safe place where people overcome their differences.

Still, the main competition takes place between Smer candidate Maroš Šefčovič and former chief of the Supreme Court Štefan Harabin. Harabin feels he may end up second, so he is labeling Šefčovič a candidate from Brussels, as someone who cannot understand Slovaks. While Harabin calls himself the only true Christian candidate who can protect the country against migrants.

Šefčovič finds it hard to compete with the arrogant and anti-systemic Harabin. It is hard if not impossible to adapt to an argumentative style like Harabin’s in just a few months. Therefore, it is interesting to see how hard Šefčovič has been trying to frame himself as a candidate of Christian values, with broad support from the Church.

One of the two men is expected to challenge Čaputová in the second round. If it will be Harabin, she may expect insults, lies, and allegations of being funded by the U.S. and Soros. It will be much less nasty with Šefčovič as a rival. She may be attacked for not being erudite enough for the office and shamed for her willingness to pardon President Kiska.

Overall, a higher voter turnout could help Čaputová. If the energy that fueled last year’s anti-government protest is going to persist, Slovakia will likely get a female president.

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