The Greatest Slovak poll is organized by RTVS public radio. It was opened for voting on November 1st last year and is due to close on May 1st, 2019. A number of well-known politicians as well as actors, athletes and church leaders have emerged among the top 100 most popular figures.
Alexander Dubcek, the 1968 Prague Spring communist reform movement leader, and Gustav Husak, who was Czechoslovakian president in the post-1968 hardline communist period, have both advanced to the final. Among the top ten are Catholic priest and politician Andrej Hlinka, brigand Juraj Janosik, cycling star Peter Sagan and First World War politician and co-founder of the Czechoslovak Republic Milan Rastislav Stefanik.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who was born in Bratislava to a Slovak family, but joined the Czech Republic after the velvet revolution, finished 89th. In the poll, he got more votes than for example Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary and Croatia from 1458 to 1490. Robert Fico, the former Slovak Prime Minister, ranked 35th which is better than the result of current President Andrej Kiska who placed 55th.
The poll has not avoided controversy. In the autumn, RTVS, following the criticism, dismissed former Slovak president Jozef Tiso, who cooperated with the Nazis and was executed in 1947 for treason. There is also speculation about the nationality of some people. This concerns, for example, American painter Andy Warhol as well as Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary and Croatia.
Charles IV, the 14th century king of the Czech Kingdom and emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, was elected the Greatest Czech of all time in a similar poll in 2005. The emperor was followed by the founder of Czechoslovakia, President Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, and former Czech President Vaclav Havel.