Slovakia is going through changes. About two weeks ago, liberal oppositionist Zuzana Čaputová, unexpectedly won in the first round of the presidential election. She became a politician last year. Zuzana Čaputová is expected to win in the second round of the presidential race, which is about to start. In 2016, she won the Goldman Environmental Prize for her relentless campaigning against the opening of a landfill in the town of Pezinok, which, if opened, would further aggravate potential health hazards and would contribute to urban pollution.
Who are you, Mrs. Čaputová?
Zuzana Čaputová is 45 years old. She was born on June 21, 1973, in Bratislava. She graduated from the law faculty of the Comenius University. Most of her life she has spent working as a lawyer in the public sector, including the Soros Open Society Foundation, and this was one of the most common reasons for her criticism during the election campaign.
Interestingly, Čaputová presents this fact as an advantage:
"I have dedicated my entire professional life to justice. As a student, I initiated a number of projects to help the poor, including children who have been subjected to domestic violence. As a lawyer, I was on the side of those who did not have the money to protect their rights. As a civilian activist, I defended public interests from the interests of political parties or business groups. As president, I want to give all my strength to fight lawlessness."
Čaputová joined the big politics at the end of 2017: she joined the newly created Progressive Slovakia party (not represented in the parliament) and after a short time she became its vice-president. This political force supports liberal values and received broad support after anti-government protests last year. Context:
After the murder of Ján Kuciak, the 27-year-old investigative journalist, and his girlfriend in Slovakia in February 2018, mass protests began in Slovakia. Prime Minister Robert Fico tried to resist them but still resigned on condition that early parliamentary elections would not be held in the country.
Instead, he was replaced by Peter Pellegrini, who had previously been deputy prime minister in the Fico government and also belonged to the ruling party.
However, the traditional political elite lost the trust of voters, so Čaputová’s lack of political experience and criticism of the authorities became its advantage. When the current president of Slovakia, Andrej Kiska, announced that he would not go for a second term, Čaputová decided to run for office.
She went to the polls with just three points in the program:
- Justice for all – reform the law enforcement and judicial systems and fight corruption at the highest level;
- A decent life for older people – increase spending on the social sphere;
- Protection of the environment - will bring the environmental issue to the state level and take up the fight against deforestation, protection of national reserves, etc.
Although Čaputová has very unusual views for conservative Slovakia. For example, she advocates allowing the adoption of children by same-sex couples and in defense of the rights of women to abortion.
Predictions for the second round
The victory of Zuzana Čaputová, lawyer and eco-activist with liberal views, was quite unexpected for everyone, as she defeated 12 strong candidates for the presidency.
Despite the attacks of the clergy, opponents of Soros, and supporters of the current political regime, the young politician was able to enlist the support of 40.6% of voters.
In the second round of the presidential race, scheduled for March 30, Čaputová’s victory already seems to be irreversible.
Ukraine, like the rest of the international community, is closely monitoring the elections in Slovakia, although the president does not form the state’s foreign policy in this country.
Acting head of Slovakia, Andrei Kiska, proved that even with the rule of government, the president in the country still has the opportunity to influence the general course of the state. In this regard, the position of candidates for this post in relation to the Russian aggression against Ukraine, as well as on the issue of sanctions, is extremely important to us.
At the moment, both Maroš Šefčovič, currently standing for the office in the 2019 Slovak presidential election, and Čaputová are considered pro-European candidates and generally friendly to Ukraine, but the latter’s victory is more preferable for Kyiv.
As shown by Dennik N express polls about the attitude of leading candidates to anti-Russian sanctions and Ukraine, Čaputová is more fundamental in this matter:
"Sanctions were imposed because of foreign aggression and violation of international law. I consider them appropriate measures and agree with them."
This gives hope that during the presidency of the oppositionist Slovakia would be a consistent supporter of Ukraine’s European integration and the restoration of its territorial integrity. Especially considering that the presidential election is considered by many to be a rehearsal for the parliamentary elections that will take place this year.