Lajčák leads presidential polls, but he refuses to run

The ruling Smer still does not have its candidate. They want the foreign affairs minister, but do not have his backing on the migration pact.

The Grassalkovich Palace is the residence of the president of Slovakia.The Grassalkovich Palace is the residence of the president of Slovakia. (Source: Gabriel Kuchta, Sme)

With the municipal elections over, there is no other vote in the way so Slovaks can focus on the presidential race in the spring 2019.

After President Andrej Kiska announced that he would not run for re-election, presidential candidates came out all over the country and across the political spectrum. The strongest party, Smer, has been postponing the announcement of its candidate.

“Smer seems to be unable to find a candidate who would be not just willing to go to battle but also have a high chance of winning,” Pavol Baboš, political analyst from the political science school of Comenius University in Bratislava, told The Slovak Spectator.

Observers agree that Smer, as the dominant player on the scene, cannot put forward someone who would end up fourth or fifth in the race, for reputational reasons.

At the same time, Smer needs to have its own candidate, Baboš explains. As the most popular political party in history - which is the way Smer markets itself - it should have its own candidate.

Having its own candidate is also important for the party members at all levels. If the popularity of a party decreases, insecurity spreads among its members. Smer leader Robert Fico thus needs to show Smer members that their party is strong enough to field its own candidate.

Lajčák for president

Smer has been trying to persuade Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák to run as their candidate in the presidential election. Even though Lajčák has repeatedly said he is not going to run, Smer has not given up on him.

The most recent poll by the Focus polling agency for the Markíza private television broadcaster has shown that he would have no serious competitor in the race.

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