ANDREJ Kiska will be the president of Slovakia for the next five years. Kiska, who is the first-ever independent candidate with no political background whatsoever to win the presidential election, received 59.39 percent of the vote, while Prime Minister Robert Fico, the official candidate of the ruling Smer party, garnered the support of 40.61 percent of the voters, according to the official results announced by the Central Election Commission on March 30. The term of President Ivan Gašparovič’s term ends in June.
In the second round Kisla collected 1,307,065 votes while Fico was backed by 893,841 people. Fico won the first round of the election with 28 percent of the vote with 531,919 people backing him, Kiska finished just 4 percent behind at 24 percent, backed by 455,996 voters, according to the official results.
Voter turnout was 50.48 percent.
Andrej Kiska was the first candidate to announce his intention to run for president, almost two years before the actual election. He is known mainly as the founder of the Quatro and Triangel installment companies, which he founded with his brother to fill a hole in the market, and earned a fortune as a result. In 2006, the two companies were sold to the VÚB Bank, and Kiska, together with his friend, founded a charity project Good Angel, which helps cancer patients and has become very popular in the country thanks to its transparent system of donations. During the campaign, Kiska was accused of misusing the charity project for political ends, but he denied such allegations.
Kiska claims he decided to run for president after his experience from business and charity allowed him to see that there are obstacles for citizens who want to do meaningful things in those two areas.
The main messages of his election campaign had been his independence and absence of links to politicians, as well as the need to create a counterweight to the ruling power in the presidential office, a claim which he used against his main competitor, PM Fico, whose party currently controls most high state offices except for the presidency.
Kiska has been favoured to make it to the second round to face Fico since about a month before the election, but his advancing with an almost equal percentage of votes against Fico came as a surprise.
Fico and Kiska thus entered the campaign before the run-off as equally strong candidates. In his campaign, Kiska mainly focused on stressing his experience from business and charity. He has been a target of a tough negative campaign, with anonymous leaflets and Fico accusing him of having ties with Scientologists and of practicing usury. Kiska denied those claims and filed a criminal complaint against Fico.
Kiska ran as an independent candidate, but all his major opponents from the first round supported him against Fico in the run-off, as did the major political parties on the Slovak political scene, with the obvious exception of Smer.
30. Mar 2014 at 9:00 | Michaela Terenzani , The Spectator Staff