The opposition candidate for President of the Slovak Republic is feeling confident before the second round of the election.
Slovakia will see incumbent President Ivan Gašparovič, backed by two parties of the ruling coalition – Smer, the largest party in parliament and the Slovak National Party (SNS) and Iveta Radičová – the joint candidate of the parliamentary opposition parties clashing head to head in the second round of the election on April 4.
The official results of the first round of presidential elections were announced at 10:00 on March 22.
After counting all the votes from 5,919 election precincts, Gašparovič finished first with 46.70 percent of the votes and Radičová was second with 38.05 percent.
“I feel very strong,” Radičová said after the results of the first round of the elections were published, the SITA newswire reported.
According to Radičová people started to believe “that politics can be polite, decent, gentleman-like, straight-to-the-point and that it can really solve the everyday problems of people”, SITA wrote.
Radičová admitted the small difference between the number of votes for her and for the incumbent Ivan Gašparovič was a pleasant surprise for her. The results present a great challenge for her in the second round and she is looking forward to a real duel between the two candidates, she said.
“I will try to show very clearly in the dialogues with Mr. Gašparovič who Ivan Gašparovič is and who Iveta Radičová is,” she was quoted by the TASR newswire as saying.
Radičová said she was not afraid of possible attacks from Prime Minister Robert Fico who supports the incumbent president in the elections.
“The Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic is the prime minister of all citizens of this republic, so also mine,” she said. “If he criticizes me, I will think about the reasons why he’s doing so. If he does not accept sensible proposals, then I have to pronounce a serious charge that he holds full responsibility, really full responsibility, for the path this country is walking.”
She was mainly disappointed by the low turnout of voters in the first round and in the coming days she will try to persuade the biggest possible number of non-voters that the post of the president is important.
“That he or she can be useful, helpful, active, that he or she can shift the actions in this country; that he or she can contribute to living a decent life, to improving the quality of life in this country,” she said.
Radičová said she can only hope for the support and endorsement of the unsuccessful candidates. She is not sure to what extent they could influence the voters since the first round already showed that the voters do not act as a disciplined ‘military unit’ but decide freely on their own, SITA reported.
Radičová is not sure she can expect the support of František Mikloško, the candidate of the Conservative Democrats of Slovakia, who ended up third with 5.4 percent of the votes, as he has already said that he will neither vote in the second round nor recommend that his supporters vote for any of the two successful candidates.
“Ferko is a great man and I believe he will think and meditate,” Radičová said to SITA. “And that he will make the right decision.”