Michal Kováč – elected as president by parliament in February 1993, and served until March 2, 1998. Kováč’s term was marked by conflicts with Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar. These began in 1993, after Kováč refused to appoint Mečiar's nominee Ivan Lexa to head the Slovak Information Service (SIS) spy agency. After Lexa later became head of the SIS, Kováč’s son was abducted and taken abroad in August 1995. The SIS has been a prime suspect in this crime but nobody has been convicted owing to an amnesty granted to Lexa and others by Mečiar when he briefly served as acting president after Kováč had left the post.
Rudolf Schuster - the first president to be directly elected, in May 1999. He served as president until 2004. He had previously sat as an MP for the now defunct left-wing Party of Civic Understanding. Between 1994 and 1999, Schuster was mayor of Košice.
Ivan Gašparovič – became president in June 2004. In the election, he was supported by the then-opposition party Smer, chaired by the current prime minister, Robert Fico. In the 2004 election he defeated Vladimír Mečiar in the second round run-off.
In the early 1990s, Gašparovič was Czechoslovak General Prosecutor but President Václav Havel recalled him in 1992 for failure to do his job. Gašparovič became one of the founding members of the HZDS and a close collaborator with Mečiar. After the victory of the HZDS in parliamentary elections in 1992, he became the Speaker of the Slovak parliament and kept that position until October 1998. After the October 1998 elections, he was a HZDS MP. In 2002, after a disagreement with Mečiar, he founded his own party.
19. Jan 2009 at 0:00 | Compiled by the Spectator staff from press reports