After the final election results were announced, representatives of the major ruling coalition party, Smer, headed by Prime Minister Robert Fico expressed satisfaction with the results. One year and several months before the general parliamentary elections, the re-election of Gašparovič indirectly confirmed the dominance of Smer which significantly leads against opposition parties in public opinion polls.
Gašparovič won the second round of presidential elections after gaining 55.53 percent of the votes. His challenger Iveta Radičová, the joint candidate of the parliamentary opposition parties collected 44.47 percent of the votes with a 51.67 percent voter turnout, according to the Central Election Commission.
“During the difficult times which we are facing now with regards to the crisis, I can lean on a president who has a strong social feeling, who knows what are the national and state interests of Slovakia,” said Prime Minister Robert Fico, as cited by the ČTK newswire. “I'm very glad that the second round ended as it ended and I'm very glad that we have in front of us another period of stability,” he said, as cited by TASR.
The Prime Minister warned that the election results have significant consequences. “We will have to pay attention to journalists, in particular the Slovak press, because if somebody has lost the election, it is certainly the Slovak press,” said Fico as cited by TASR. He explained that the loss is for all “the dirt, lies and accusations, which they [journalists] cast on Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič.”
Among the politicians who arrived in Limbach, where Gašparovič was waiting for results of the elections, to congratulate him were the Speaker of Parliament, Pavol Paška, Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák, Finance Minister Ján Počiatek, Culture Minister Marek Maďarič, Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák and Deputy Prime Minister Dušan Čaplovič.
“I am pleased that we will fight only with the crisis,” Paška said after the results were announced, indicating that the ruling coalition will be able to continue ruling and that no 'opposition' president will be a barrier for it. Out of the other coalition partner parties, Anna Belousovová, deputy chairwoman of the SNS arrived in person to congratulate the re-elected president. Her opinion is that SNS has a lion's share of Gašparovič's success.
“I think that mobilization from the side of SNS was effective; the numbers speak a clear language,” Belousovová said. According to her, SNS will now deal with financing of Radičová's campaign.
“I will be in particular interested in the origin of money for her campaign,” said Belousovová. “Slovakia is not a banana republic and nobody can interfere into politics this way.”
Ján Slota, the head of SNS said he was absolutely sure from the very beginning that Ivan Gašparovič would win. “I would express it with one sentence: that Slovakia has won over lies and hypocrisy,” he said. Slota thinks that the 11-percent margin of victory is more than unambiguous. He ascribed the victory of Radičová in southern Slovakia to SMK and its activities. According to SNS, the president should deal even more with the national questions during his next term.
Top representatives of the third ruling coalition party, the HZDS, did not immediately comment on the elections results. The party of Vladimír Mečiar, whose candidate Milan Melník ended fifth with 2.45 percent during the first vote, recommended that its supporters not vote for either of the candidates in the second round.
“The demanding criteria we set for our presidential candidate Professor Milan Melník in the first round have influenced us to not lower the bar in the second round,” HZDS chairman Vladimír Mečiar said on March 29. According to him, HZDS has maintained its critical stance towards the incumbent President. “I've no personal dispute with him, I simply don't identify with anyone without a backbone,” he said, at the same time accusing the president of striving for the fall of his government in 1994.
DPA, the German newswire, in its analysis labelled PM Robert Fico as the real winner of the presidential election. The victory of the incumbent president means for him and his leftist party a great relief. Fico now can be sure that there will be a man sitting in the presidential chair who he can trust, DPA wrote. The triangle of power - president, speaker of parliament and prime minister remains stable.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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