BRATISLAVA (Reuters) – Riding a wave of public fury over corruption, liberal lawyer Zuzana Caputova looked set to win Slovakia’s presidential election on Saturday, bucking a trend that has seen populist, anti-European Union politicians make gains across the continent.
Corruption and change have been the main themes ahead of the run-off vote, which takes place a year after journalist Jan Kuciak, who investigated high-profile fraud cases, and his fiancee were murdered at their home.
Caputova - Union - Novice - Slovakia - Female
Caputova, pro-European Union political novice who would become Slovakia’s first female president, won the election’s first round two weeks ago with 40.6 percent of the vote, ahead of European Commissioner Maros Sefcovic on 18.7 percent.
Sefcovic, a respected diplomat who is also pro-EU, is backed by the ruling party Smer, the largest grouping in parliament and which has dominated Slovak politics since 2006.
Caputova - Capture - State - People - Strings
Caputova campaigned to end what she calls the capture of the state “by people pulling strings from behind”, a message that opinion polls show resonates with younger, educated voters.
Voting stations opened at 7 a.m. (0600 GMT) and were due to close at 10 p.m., with results expected overnight.
Caputova - History - Injustice - Back - Oligarchs
“I was convinced by Caputova’s history. She knows what it is like to face injustice and she has always had the back of those who fought against the oligarchs,” said Zuzana Behrikova, voter at a polling station in Bratislava.
“I believe she will be able to resist the pressures that come with the position.”
Slovakia - President - Power - Appoints - Ministers
Slovakia’s president wields little day-to-day power but appoints prime ministers and can veto appointments of senior prosecutors and judges.
Five people have been charged with the murders of Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova, including businessman Marian Kocner, who was investigated by Kuciak, and who has become a symbol of perceived...
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