Slovakia election: Liberal Caputova bucks Europe’s populist development

Slovakia presidential candidate Zuzana Caputova speaks to media as she arrives to cast her vote during the country's presidential elections at a polling station in Pezinok, Slovakia, March 16, 2019Picture copyright

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The divorced mother-of-two is famous for her liberal views and her campaigning in opposition to corruption

“The one factor mandatory for the triumph of evil is for good males to do nothing,” learn a latest put up on Zuzana Caputova’s Fb web page, as she appealed to Slovakia’s four.four million registered voters to again her on this weekend’s presidential race.

This political newcomer and front-runner has framed the competition as a battle between good and evil – and if she wins she is going to change into the nation’s first feminine president.

That well-known quote would possibly sound overblown for a largely ceremonial place with virtually no govt energy.

However one yr after the homicide of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak, a killing that led to the autumn of Slovakia’s pugnacious Prime Minister Robert Fico, the election is being seen as a litmus take a look at of how far Slovak society has modified.

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Zusana Caputova poster reads:


I depend on conventional Christian values, corresponding to compassion and love for our neighbours and for individuals who belong to a minority. I’d contemplate it constructive if this nation united”

“If Caputova wins on Saturday, which may be very probably, it might begin a far-reaching political and generational change in Slovak politics after the lengthy rule of Fico’s populist Smer occasion,” stated analyst Milan Nic, a senior fellow on the German Council on Overseas Relations (DGAP) in Berlin.

“Victory for Caputova would current a unique face of Central and Jap Europe, displaying there’s a substitute for intolerant forces and centralised political management developed in Hungary and Poland.

“The Caputova state of affairs would additionally imply huge encouragement for the opposition in Poland, which is attempting to mix forces in opposition to the ruling Regulation and Justice occasion within the European parliament elections in Might.”

Why rival has struggled in opposition to new face of politics

Zuzana Caputova may need 20 years of expertise as a lawyer and anti-corruption campaigner, however her expertise of presidency or diplomacy is dwarfed by that of her challenger Maros Sefcovic.

Previously head of Slovakia’s mission to the European Union, he’s now one of many six vice-presidents of the European Fee.

Presidential election

First spherical share of vote

However his presidential bid has been hampered by his affiliation with Robert Fico and the Smer occasion that nominated him (though he’s not a celebration member).

Repeatedly at pains to distance himself from the previous prime minister, Mr Sefcovic continues to be tarnished with the comb of a discredited political institution.

The 52-year-old diplomat is a graduate of the elite Moscow State Institute of Worldwide Relations, and utilized to hitch the Communist Get together of Czechoslovakia in Might 1989 – six months earlier than the autumn of the regime.

By way of perceptions, he’s really the political “previous” to Zuzana Caputova’s “new”.

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Maros Sefcovic is effectively behind his rival within the opinion polls

“She is credible, unbiased from the institution, and represents constructive change. In a manner she’s shaping as much as be the Slovak Macron,” defined Milan Nic.

“Electing a divorced single mom and civic activist from outdoors the political institution as head of state can be an enormous turning level, not only for Slovakia, however for the broader area as effectively,” he went on.

Caputova and a altering Slovakia

Actually the 45-year-old divorced mother-of-two is seen as nearer to “abnormal” voters than the lads in fits who’ve dominated Slovak politics, regardless that her liberal views on such points as LGBT rights are more likely to alienate her from some voters on this conservative and largely Catholic nation.

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Protests came about final month in cities and cities throughout Slovakia to recollect Jan Kuciak and his fiancée

However maybe the decisive think about these elections would be the disgust and anger nonetheless felt at Kuciak’s homicide – an act that Zuzana Caputova says prompted her to enter politics.

There’s even a reference to the person who Slovak prosecutors imagine ordered the killing, Marian Kocner. Throughout her 14-year authorized battle over an unlawful landfill website in her residence city of Pezinok, she crossed swords with Mr Kocner, who was representing the agency attempting to increase the positioning.

A rich businessman with connections to many Slovak politicians together with Robert Fico, Mr Kocner is now in custody awaiting trial for homicide.

“If she wins, it will likely be proof that almost all of individuals in Slovakia care about their nation and are fed up with the corrupt and legal system of Mr Fico,” stated Matus Kostolny, editor-in-chief of the liberal day by day Dennik N.

“Ten years in the past, a liberal lady [Prime Minister Iveta Radicova] was not capable of persuade sufficient folks of her insurance policies. However Slovakia has modified.”

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