ELECTION: Analysts careful about predicting results

Political observers remain rather circumspect about predicting the results of the second round of the presidential election when the polling stations closed at 22:00 on April 4.

Political observers remain rather circumspect about predicting the results of the second round of the presidential election when the polling stations closed at 22:00 on April 4.

Incumbent Ivan Gašparovič and challenger Iveta Radičová clashed head-to-head in the second round of the elections.

Gašparovič - backed by the ruling coalition’s largest party, Smer, and its junior partner, the Slovak National Party (SNS) - won the first round with 46.70 percent of the votes. Radičová, the joint candidate of the three main parliamentary opposition parties, trailed him by a smaller-than-expected 8.56-percent margin, at 38.05 percent.

Observers and political analysts said that it is exactly the smaller-than-expected margin in the first round and a higher-than-expected turnout in the second round that are making their prognostications more complicated.

Political scientist Grigorij Mesežnikov told the SITA newswire that he expects a very tight result.

“All the options are open,” Mesežnikov said before the polling stations closed.

According to Slovakia’s constitution, the candidate who collects the higher number of votes in the second round on April 4 wins, so in fact even one vote might decide upon the new president, the Sme daily newspaper wrote. If the vote difference between the two candidates is very tight it could evoke doubts in the candidates and the voters as well, Sme noted.

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