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Mečiar vs. Gašparovič

FOLLOWING a surprise vote that left aspiring president Eduard Kukan out of the presidential race, three-time ex-PM Vladimír Mečiar and his former party peer Ivan Gašaprovič will compete for the presidential seat in the second round on April 17.

Kukan's failure was particularly surprising because he led the opinion polls in the run-up to the election.

The presidential elections were marked by low voter turnout – merely 47.9 percent - compared to nearly 74 percent in the 1999 presidential elections.

Mečiar ranked first with 32.7 percent, while Gašparovič was second with 22.3 percent.

Kukan's failure showed that his Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) voter base was "sensitive to policy style" Grigorij Mesežnikov, head of the Institute for Public Affairs think tank, said to the daily SME - referring to the party's internal problems that started with PM Mikuláš Dzurinda's recall of Defence Minister Ivan Šimko in the autumn of last year.

Dzurinda admitted that the failure of Kukan was also caused by several recent affairs surrounding the SDKÚ, including the suspicion that the party listed fake donors in its financial reports.

Compiled by Martina Pisárová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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