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NEWS BRIEFS

Woman to run in Presidential election

Magda Vášáryová announced her decision to run in presidential elections, becoming the country's first-ever woman to do so, on February 19.

Vášáryová, a former actress and ambassador to Austria, will run as an independent candidate. "I want to be Slovakia's new face, a confirmation of the changes that have occured from November 1989 to September 1998; I want to represent successful Slovakia," she said.

So far, three other candidates, including former President Michal Kováč, have also decided to run in the country's first direct presidential elections, scheduled for May.

Slovakia has been without a president since last March, when Kováč's term expired and parliament was unable to elect a new president. In January, the assembly approved a change in the constitution, allowing for direct election by the citizens of a head of state.

Currently leading the polls for the race is Rudolf Schuster, a parliamentarian and mayor of the country's second largest city, Košice. He is the candidate supported by the country's coalition government. The fourth candidate, Juraj Švec, is also a member of parliament.

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