THE NEW president is also a man who unwittingly brought issues of religion into the presidential campaign, to the surprise of many, eventually becoming one of the leading campaign topics. In fact, observers have noted that religion and a candidate’s personal religious beliefs had not been used in a political campaign to such an extent ever since the first elections after the fall of communism in early 1990s.

The shift came about because of Andrej Kiska’s alleged ties to the Church of Scientology, which his opponents in the presidential race brought up against him. Prime Minister Robert Fico, who ran against Kiska in the run-off, in particular attempted to highlight Scientology as a threat to the country.

“One of your firms is called Triangel, right,” Fico asked during the presidential debate on the TA3 news channel. “The sign of the Church of Scientology is a triangle. Mr Kiska you are interconnected with this sect and you have not negated any of the evidence I presented.”

Fico, who previously did not present himself as a believer or a Catholic, launched his presidential campaign with a promotional video interview with his party colleague, Culture Minister Marek Maďarič, in which he stressed his strict Catholic education, including participation in sacraments, with priests and nuns among his relatives.

Kiska called efforts to link him to Scientologists ridiculous, arguing that he believes in God.
Still, the claims were not entirely ungrounded. As a businessman, Kiska gave a lecture for a society with a Scientology background. Additionally, the publishing of Kiska’s book was secured by Ladislav Pavlík, who is the president of the School of Management of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology. Kiska also granted an interview to a magazine with Scientology links.

“After I left business, I very frequently lectured; about business, life, charity,” Kiska wrote on his website. “I had dozens of lectures annually because I wanted to share my experiences.”

When Pavlík offered to publish the book, Kiska said, “I paid for the publishing on my own and I used the services of Alert. I had no knowledge that Mr Pavlík or Alert would have been associated with Scientology or advocated its ideas.”

Kiska said if he had the slightest idea about the connection he would have never agreed to publish the book or the interview.