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PRESIDENTIAL VOTE: Slovaks vote their president

VOTERS in Slovakia will elect the person who will serve as president for the next five years. The polls open at 7:00 and will close at 22:00.

VOTERS in Slovakia will elect the person who will serve as president for the next five years. The polls open at 7:00 and will close at 22:00.

There are 14 official candidates for the post: Gyula Bárdos, a member of the Party of Hungarian Community; Jozef Behýl, a businessman and civil activist; Ján Čarnogurský, the former chair of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH); Robert Fico, the chairman of the Smer party and the prime minister; Viliam Fischer, a cardio-surgeon; Pavol Hrušovský, an MP and deputy chair of the KDH; Ján Jurišta, a former Slovak ambassador to Argentina; Andrej Kiska, a businessman and philanthropist; Milan Kňažko, one of the leaders of the Velvet Revolution; Stanislav Martinčko, a businessman and chair of the Coalition of Citizens of Slovakia; Milan Melník, a scientist; Helena Mezenská, an MP for Ordinary People and Independent Personalities; Radoslav Procházka, an MP and former member of the KDH; and Jozef Šimko, the mayor of Rimavská Sobota.

Current President Ivan Gašparovič is not running for re-election as Slovak law allows him to hold the post for only two consecutive terms.

The first preliminary results will be published on the website of the Statistics Office (www.statistics.sk) or at www.volbysr.sk shortly after 22:00. The official results are expected to be published on March 16, after they are confirmed by the Central Election Committee.

The first round will give the country a winner only if one of the candidates manages to collect more than 50 percent of all the votes cast. Opinion polls published over the past two months suggest that this scenario is rather unlikely. More likely, the top two finalists will move on to a second round run-off scheduled for March 29. Whoever gets the most votes in that run-off wins.

The elected candidate will take office on June 15 when Gašparovič’s tenure expires.

Every Slovak citizen who reaches the age of 18 on the day of the elections can vote for the president. Voting is possible only on Slovakia’s territory. Those who will not be at the location of their permanent residence on the day of the elections can ask for a so-called voting certificate that they will show to the election committee.

Slovaks living abroad can attend the elections too, but only if they are in Slovakia on the day of the elections. The election committee should include them on the voters’ list and also make a note in their passport, the law stipulates.

The election campaign for the presidential elections ceased on March 13 at 7:00 and the moratorium lasts until the end of voting. During the moratorium any form of campaigning is prohibited.

Compiled by Spectator staff from press reports

The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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