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Slovak Presidential Election Intensifies As Korcok and Pellegrini Qualify For Second Round

The Slovak state election commission yesterday confirmed the results of Saturday’s first round of the presidential election, with former foreign minister Ivan Korcok and parliamentary speaker Peter Pellegrini advancing to the direct election run-off on 6 April.

Career diplomat Korcok won 42.5% of the vote, with Pellegrini receiving 37%, commission head Eduard Burda told reporters.

Nine candidates were running for the presidency. Around 3,800 votes went to two candidates who withdrew from the election before it started, but whose names were already printed on the ballot papers.

The turnout was 51.91%, higher than every presidential election except in 1999, when Slovaks voted directly for the head of state for the first time.

Full results (first round):

candidate                votes (in pct)

Ivan Korcok                 42.51

Peter Pellegrini           37.02

Stefan Harabin            11.73

Krisztian Forro             2.90

Igor Matovic                  2.18

Jan Kubis                     2.03

Patrik Dubovsky           0.71

Marian Kotleba             0.56

Milan Nahlik                  0.13

Andrej Danko*              0.08

Robert Svec*                0.08

Note * – candidate who withdrew from the election before it started

Later on Sunday, both remaining candidates continued campaigning, with leader Korcok organising a rally in Bratislava, and Pellegrini publishing a recorded post on social media.

“The most important moment is still ahead of us,” Korcok said at his rally last night. “Now there is the opportunity to elect a head of state who will serve you, the people, not the politicians. Almost a million (votes) from the first round will not be enough for the second round.” 

Korcok reiterated his criticism of some of the intentions and decisions of the current government of Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD). Pellegrini was a member of Smer-SD for 20 years until he left in 2020 to form a new party, Hlas-SD, which now sits with his former party in a coalition government.

Korcok said that even Hlas-SD voters can see that the government wants to take control of public radio and television.

Korcok was once again supported at the rally by actors and other artists. His supporters also include Eva Mosnakova, a Holocaust survivor and holder of a high Slovak state award.

In the campaign before the first round, Korcok visited 50 towns across the country and capped the series with a rally in the square near the Government Office, which he repeated yesterday. He is planning similar rallies in other towns in the coming days.

Pellegrini criticised Korcok in his recording. “I see huge differences in what I offer Slovakia and what my opponent offers,” he said. “I want to be the president of the people, not the president of elites, media, NGOs or foreign countries. I want to be a president of peace who proudly and sovereignly defends Slovakia’s national-state interests, not a president who will drag Slovakia into war for a pat on the back in Brussels or Washington.”

Pellegrini did not hold his own rallies before the first round of voting. As head of parliament, he had only intensified his foreign business trips, while attending events in Slovak regions to mark International Women’s Day and press conferences of his party ministers.

The non-governmental organisation Transparency International Slovakia has said that both finalists in the presidential election are close to exhausting the allowed limit of half a million euros for their election campaigns. It warned that this could lead to even more “dirty practices” in the campaign.

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