Slovak presidential elections date announced and a front-runner identified

Slovak Parliament Speaker Peter Pellegrini stated that the country’s first round of presidential elections will take place on March 23, with a possible second round on April 6.

Parliament Speaker Peter Pellegrini stated the dates after a long wait, adding that he had made a “personal decision” during the holidays and expected to officially announce his presidential bid on January 19.

Before that, his Hlas (Voice) party has to endorse his candidacy.

Candidates in the Slovak elections

So far, former Foreign Minister Ivan Korčok, his former diplomatic colleague Jan Kubiš (first foreign minister in the first Smer government), former Supreme Court Chief Justice, former Justice Minister and unsuccessful presidential candidate Štefan Harabin, independent candidate Marta Čurajová, and Krisztián Forró, head of the Hungarian ethnic minority party that failed in the previous election, have officially expressed a desire to run for the presidency.

President Zuzana Čaputová doesn’t run for a second term.

Peter Pellegrini’s candidacy, which has sparked disputes inside the government coalition, has been a topic of discussion for months.

Andrej Danko, the leader of the Slovak National Party, keeps expressing interest in running for president. The reason is Pellegrini’s hesitancy, which pushed Danko to begin gathering signatures for his candidacy.

Pellegrini as a front-runner

Peter Pellegrini, the Slovak parliament speaker and coalition ally of Prime Minister Robert Fico, is highly likely to win the country’s presidential election this spring, according to a December survey conducted by the SANEP agency for the TA3 television station.

According to the survey, in the first round of the presidential election, Pellegrini would have received 43.9% of the vote, while his major opponent, former Foreign Minister Ivan Korčok, would have received 32.3%.

According to the poll, Pellegrini would win the second round of the election with 58% of the vote, while Korčok would earn 42%.

At the same time, according to the poll, voter turnout would have been 50% in the first round and much lower in the second round, at 42%.

Robert Fico’s political party, SMER, has already said that it is prepared to back Pellegrini in the presidential race. The Hlas party’s agreement to join the existing alliance is believed to include support for Pellegrini’s candidacy.

The victory of Pellegrini, who is a member of a pro-European party, would have positive consequences for Europe. Especially if we consider that the Slovak Prime Minister and his coalition partner since October 2022, Robert Fico, has been known for pro-Russian rhetoric.

Pellegrini has repeatedly expressed his support for Ukraine and its sovereignty in the context of the EU’s support for Kyiv and Russia’s war. He has also advocated for increased cooperation between Slovakia and NATO.

If he wins, Slovakia will likely keep providing military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, as well as supporting it on the international scene. However, Pellegrini’s victory is not guaranteed, and the presidential race winner will be determined in the campaign.

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