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ELECTIONS: The less successful candidates speak about the results

Incumbent President Ivan Gašparovič, backed by two parties of the ruling coalition – Smer, the largest ruling party in parliament and the junior coalition member, the Slovak National Party (SNS) and Iveta Radičová – the joint candidate of the parliamentary opposition parties will clash in the second round of presidential election in Slovakia scheduled for April 4.

Incumbent President Ivan Gašparovič, backed by two parties of the ruling coalition – Smer, the largest ruling party in parliament and the junior coalition member, the Slovak National Party (SNS) and Iveta Radičová – the joint candidate of the parliamentary opposition parties will clash in the second round of presidential election in Slovakia scheduled for April 4.

After counting all the votes from 5,919 election precincts, election officials announced that Ivan Gašparovič finished first with 46.70 percent of the votes and that Iveta Radičová was second with 38.05 percent. Gašparovič collected 876,061 votes while 713,735 eligible voters wanted to see Radičová moving to the presidential palace. The official results were announced by the Central Election Commission at10:00 on March 22.

Coming in far behind the top two vote-getters were František Mikloško, with 5.41 percent of the votes, and Zuzana Martináková with 5.12 percent. The bottom three candidates were Milan Melník with 2.45 percent, followed by Dagmara Bollová with 1.13 percent and Milan Sidor with 1.11 percent.

The voter turnout was at 43.63 percent. For the election, there were 4,339,331 eligible voters registered in the voter lists and 1,875,629 valid votes were cast, the commission said.

The Slovak Spectator brings the reactions of the less successful candidates:

Mikloško, who was making his second attempt for the presidential palace, ended third with 101, 573 ballots cast for him, or 5.41 percent. He said watching the clash between Gašparovič and Radičová will be interesting in the light of the power ambitions of Prime Minister Robert Fico who is supporting Gašparovič. After hearing the announcement of the preliminary results Mikloško said that he would support neither of the candidates in the second round nor cast his own ballot.

“I wish the candidates all the best, success, and health, but in this direction our worlds differ,” Mikloško told the SITA newswire.

Martináková, supported by the non-parliamentary Free Forum party, ended in fourth place with 96,035 votes or 5.12 percent and said she was satisfied with her performance, considering that she emerged back on the political scene after two years of relative silence from her party, the TASR newswire wrote. Her party failed to capture a seat in parliament in 2006 when it did not receive votes exceeding the 5-percent threshold.

At this time she has not decided whom she will support in the second round, but she will certainly participate.

“Our main idea – of a non-partisan president, who is not an extended hand of either Fico or [former Prime Minister] Dzurinda, has not been fulfilled,” Martináková said. “Now we have to assess – I have to say this now – who is the lesser evil.”

The candidate of the third junior ruling coalition party, the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), Milan Melník, ended in fifth place, capturing just 45,985 votes, or 2.45 percent.

“I really want to thank all voters who trusted me,” the TASR newswire quoted Melník. “I thought that people would use this chance for a change.”

He said that he thinks that perhaps voters traditionally prefer professional politicians. Melník will decide later on endorsing any of the second round candidates.

Dagmara Bollová, who ended in sixth place with 21,378 votes, or 1.14 percent, said she is grateful to those people who voted for her, but she simultaneously thinks that she has a larger number of sympathisers among people who did not cast ballots.

“I have to take it as that it is not important to win but to participate,” she said, as cited by TASR.

The voter turnout was a disappointment for her.

“I think that the turnout was in line with expectations,” she said. “I personally thought that more voters would take part because I consider the post of the president to be important for all.”

According to her, the time is not ripe for the people to use their only right to publicly express their will.

She will not give any recommendations to her supporters about who to vote for in the second round.

The Slovak Communist Party (KSS), whose candidate Karol Sidor ended in the last position with votes from 20,862 citizens, or 1.11 percent, does not consider the outcome of its candidate as a failure. Jozef Hrdlička, the KSS head, told the SITA newswire that “KSS sent its candidate into the election to fight for the head of state position in order to use his campaign to react to topical political questions and from this point of view it fulfilled this goal”.

The KSS said it would decide on an endorsement of a candidate for the second round based on the candidates’ pro-social orientation.

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