President’s guard bids farewell to Kováč

Casket with ex-president was transported by soldiers on a gun carriage.

(Source: SME)

The Slovak President's Honour Guard said farewell to former Slovak president Michal Kováč  (1993-98) with a military ceremony and honours on the Presidential Palace courtyard on October 13.

Earlier in the day, the first part of Kováč’s state funeral took place at Bratislava Castle, where the grieving family received condolences. Apart from guests of the bereaved family, President Andrej Kiska, Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko, Prime Minister Robert Fico, former presidents Ivan Gasparovič and Rudolf Schuster and many other former parliamentary chairs, prime ministers, parliamentary vice-chairs and other top officials were in attendance.

All bells in Bratislava tolled for five minutes at noon, when the funeral procession set off for the Presidential Palace.

The road was lined by members of Slovakia’s Armed Forces, while the casket was transported by soldiers on a gun carriage. All those present observed a minute of silence for Kováč  after the Slovak national anthem had been played. A 20-gun salute was fired from the bank of the Danube River.

Then the President's Honour Guard cried: "Freedom and honour Mr President." 

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Kováč’s casket was transferred from the gun carriage to a hearse. A public Requiem Mass at St. Martin’s Cathedral held by the archbishop of Bratislava, Stanislav Zvolenský was set to follow.

Speeches were due to be delivered by President Kiska, former president Kováč’s advisor, Pavol Demeš and the ex-president’s step brother and historian Dusan Kováč . A large screen was installed by the cathedral to show the entire state funeral.

Kováč  was set to be buried at Ondrejský cemetery without the presence of the media or the public, who were given the opportunity to bid him farewell at the castle a day earlier.

Slovakia’s first president Michal Kováč , 86, died of heart failure in Saint Michael's Hospital in Bratislava on Wednesday of last week (October 5).

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