Slovakia: Pelligrini sworn in as president

After five years in office, liberal politician Zuzana Čaputová has handed over the presidency of Slovakia to her successor Peter Pellegrini, a member of Robert Fico's governing camp. Commentators pay tribute to Čaputová and debate what can be expected of her successor.

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Denník N (SK) /

The opposite of his predecessor

Denník N compares the two politicians:

“Both come from the same generation and have long been among the most trustworthy politicians in the country - but that's about all they have in common. ... Her political enemies said Čaputová was just a puppet. But it was Pellegrini who, apart from a brief period of fake defiance, always followed Robert Fico's lead. Čaputová commanded respect abroad. Pellegrini will have to do a lot to overcome the mistrust resulting from Slovakia's deteriorating position among its allies. The fact that the successor is clearly different from his predecessor is not necessarily a bad thing.”

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

Čaputová can leave office with her head held high

Hospodářské noviny writes:

“Fundamental things took place during Čaputová's term in office. First the pandemic, then inflation, which soared beyond our worst fears. ... And a war broke out in the neighbourhood, in which the then Slovak political representation led by the president was on the right side of history - only to be condemned for it by the majority of the nation. Because according to surveys, the Slovaks are the most pro-Russian nation in the eastern wing of Nato. Maintaining Western liberal values in this situation borders on a minor miracle. So Čaputová can head into the academic world, as she has indicated is her intention, with her head held high.”

Respekt (CZ) /

Relationship likely to cool

Respekt doubts that Czech-Slovak relations will remain as good as they have been until now:

“Unlike Čaputová, Pellegrini and his colleague Robert Fico repeatedly attacked the Czech Republic. Pellegrini has said that we adopt militant positions if we help Ukraine. And Fico has implied that all Western countries are warmongers and called Czech President Petr Pavel an American puppet. It's difficult to build a solid relationship under such circumstances. The Czech side will no doubt be objective and polite, but also cold and minimalist.”