There will be at least 14 candidates running in the presidential election that is to take place in the spring of 2014.
Over the mid-December weekend two more candidates were added to the list. On December 14 the Republican Council of the Hungarian Community Party (SMK) unanimously approved the presidential candidacy of former MP Gyula Bárdos.
SMK chairman Jozsef Berényi said that SMK views Bárdos as a skilled, decent, cultivated and open person who wants to unite instead of dividing. Berényi described the party's decision to have its own candidate as a revolutionary step.
"SMK has never before had enough momentum to take such a step, although our partners in Serbia and Romania were recommending it," said Berényi, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
Bárdos claimed his decision to run was motivated mainly by his desire to contribute towards improving Slovak-Hungarian relations, TASR wrote.
Meanwhile in the Banská Bystrica region, Jozef Šimko, the mayor of the unemployment-troubled town of Rimavská Sobota, announced he would run for president with the support of Milan Urbáni (a former high-ranking member of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia party formerly chaired by Vladimír Mečiar) and his own Party of Modern Slovakia (SMS). Šimko said that if he is elected president he wants to influence the government to help create jobs in the Rimavská Sobota area, which has the country's highest unemployment rate – around 32 percent, TASR reported.
In addition to the two new candidates, the list so far includes Pavol Hrušovský backed by the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) and Most-Híd; businessman Andrej Kiska; Ján Čarnogurský, a former chair of the KDH; Peter Osuský from Freedom and Solidarity (SaS); independent candidate Radoslav Procházka, formerly a member of the KDH; and Milan Kňažko, one of the leaders of the Velvet Revolution and a former government official who will run as an independent candidate. Leonid Chovanec, Jozef Behýl, Milan Melník and Ľubica Blašková have also announced their candidacies.
At least one more name is expected to be added to the list, as the ruling Smer party still has not chosen its candidate. The most recent information inidcates that the party is to announce the name of its candidate before Christmas. Observers deem Robert Fico to be the most probable candidate.
The Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKU) also has not announced who they will support. Pavol Hrusovsky said over the weekend he was still hoping to win the SDKU backing, according to TASR.
Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.