In line with general expectations raised by the last opinion polls published two weeks before the presidential election, Zuzana Čaputová won the first round of the election.
"The results have shown Slovakia is calling for a change," Čaputová told journalists after the first preliminary results of the vote were published on Saturday night.
Zuzana Čaputová 40.6%
Maroš Šefčovič 18.7%
Štefan Harabin 14.4%
Marian Kotleba 10.4%
František Mikloško 5.7%
Béla Bugár 3.1%
Milan Krajniak 2.8%
Eduard Chmelár 2.8%
Turnout: 48.7 percent
Maroš Šefčovič, who ended with 18.7 percent of the vote, will challenge Čaputová (40.5 percent) in the second round of the vote on March 30. When he spoke to journalists at midnight after it became clear that he was going to be Čaputová's competitor, Šefčovič stressed that this was a fresh start.
"The cards will be dealt anew; we all start on the same starting line," he said.
Observers, however, pointed to the big difference in the vote count between the two candidates who succeeded to the run-off round: with more than 98 percent of the votes counted, Čaputová had more than 852,000 votes, while Šefčovič had over 392,500. Analysts are clear that Šefčovič now needs to fish for support among the voters of Štefan Harabin and Marian Kotleba.
Čaputová: It paid off to be authentic
Čaputová thanked voters in the languages of national minorities too. She stressed that she has bet on authenticity in her campaign, and it paid off.
"One does not need to compromise their values, one can stay authentic," she summed up her experience from the campaign.