Who will be Slovakia's next president?
Thirteen candidates are running for office in the presidential elections in Slovakia. Polls put lawyer Zuzana Čaputová of the Progressive Slovakia party and the independent EU commissioner Maroš Šefčovič, from ex-prime minister Robert Fico's ruling party, in the lead. Commentators take a closer look at the candidates ahead of the vote on Saturday.
Čaputová needs protest votes
Čaputová's victory is not a sure thing despite the polls, Český rozhlas remarks:
“Čaputová needs the voter turnout to be as high as possible in order to reach the runoff. The key question in this decisive week for Slovakia's future is how much energy the people have. Whether it's as strong as during the anti-government demonstrations that took place in many cities after the journalist's murder last year. This energy could make Čaputová, who promises political change, the leader of the state.”
Ukraine fears Štefan Harabin could win
Ukrayinska Pravda is particularly worried about the man the polls put in third place:
“It's entirely possible that Štefan Harabin, a judge at the highest court in the country, will make it through to the second round of voting. In fact he could even emerge victorious from the runoff vote - which would be extremely dangerous for Ukraine. Harabin is Orthodox, and he calls himself a 'Rusyn' [an ethnic group in the Carpathians], both of which are rather unusual in Slovakian politics. However, for most Slovaks the key thing is that he was minister of justice in Vladimir Mečiar's last government. And Mečiar's authoritarian rule is considered the darkest and most depraved time in Modern Slovakian history. The fact is, however, that there are people who want to return to these 'old days'. What's more, Harabin calls for the sanctions against the Russian Federation to be lifted. And in his view Crimea has not been annexed.”
A political reality show
Writing in Mérce author Márk Finta says the election campaign reminds him of a TV show:
“There's no campaign without a story. In Slovakia the election of the president is basically a reality show with its own special atmosphere. This has been all the more apparent since the 2009 election. At the dawn of the Facebook era, when the individual components of political campaigns had to be completely revised, the candidates came up with the idea of an election campaign built around a single individual in order to expand the narrative elements. This accelerated political life forced the political actors to constantly be in campaign mode, ensuring that a successful campaign could become real political capital for individual candidates.”