23/03/2009 - Results - 1st round
Outgoing President of the Republic Ivan Gasparovic came out ahead in the 1st round of the presidential election that took place on 21st March in Slovakia. With the support of two of the three government parties – Direction-Social Democracy (SMER-D) and the National Party (SNS) – he won 46.70% of the vote and drew ahead of Iveta Radicova, the opposition candidate – Democratic and Christian Union (SDKU)- who won 38.05% of vote. The outgoing President won in five regions out of 8 (Banska Bystrica, Kosice, Presov, Trencin and Zilina), Iveta Radicova won in the three others (Bratislava, Trnava and Nitra).
These two candidates will face each other in the second round on 4th April.
Frantisek Miklosko, former MP supported by the Conservative Democrats of Slovakia (KDS) came third with 5.41% of the vote ahead of former journalist and Free Forum leader (SF) Zuzana Martinakova, 5.12% of the vote. The three other candidates - Milan Melnik, supported by the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (LU-HZDS), former MP Dagmar Bollova and Communist Party candidate (KSS) Milan Sidor – respectively won 2.45%, 1.13% and 1.11% of the vote.
Turnout was not high rising to 43.63% only i.e. 4.31 points lower than during the first round of the previous presidential election on 3rd April 2004. The highest turnout was recorded in Bratislava (47.87%), the lowest in Kosice (38.86%).
"I have no reason to be afraid. I am confident in the electorate,
" declared the outgoing Head of State. Ivan Gasparovic did however achieve a lower score than he was credited with in the polls. Some even said he would win the first round. Even a result higher than 50% of the vote would not have enabled the outgoing Head of State to win the first round on 21st March given the low turnout, which was lower than half of those registered the obligatory threshold for the election to be deemed valid.
Ivan Gasparovic indicated that he was not a member of any of the parties supporting him and said that he defended a social programme and that he was on the people's side. "Slovakia needs a President who understands its citizens and who does everything to make the country an open State and in which other countries can be confident – it needs a President who rallies and who knows how to come to good compromises,
" he declared maintaining that Slovakia had a stabler government than the Czech Republic and that it was instrumental in that stability. He said he was confident of victory on 4th April next in spite of the media whom he accuses of supporting Iveta Radicova.
Iveta Radicova achieved a better result than she was credited with in the polls. The opposition candidate said she was surprised by the small margin that separated her from Ivan Gasparovic in the first round. "I feel very strong. In the campaign in the 2nd round I shall show who Iveta Radicova really is and who Ivan Gasparovic really is,
" she declared adding, "people have understood that politics can be upright and decent, that politicians can get to the point and work to solve the people's daily problems.
She may well benefit from a better transfer of votes in the second round from the five other candidates than her rival. Dokazeme to! (We will make it!) announces her slogan. She now has two weeks to rally to her cause both the voters who chose the five other candidates and a great number of abstentionists.
"Iveta Radicova can act as mediator between the government coalition and the opposition parties and also find the means to bring them to dialogue during this period of serious economic crisis,
" indicated the Democratic and Christian Union leader, Mikulas Dzurinda. "There is no difference between left and right, between Democratic and Christian Union supporters and those close to Direction-Social Democracy in this time of crisis,
" said the former Prime Minister (1998-2004) aware that Iveta Radicova needs to rally voters beyond her camp in spite of the support she has from opposition parties (in addition to the Christian Democratic and Christian Union, the Christian Democratic Movement - KDH and the Hungarian Coalition Party - SMK).
According to political analyst Peter Horvath, Ivan Gasparovic did not win as many votes as he could have from the supporters of Direction-Social Democracy and the National Party in the first round whilst Iveta Radicova succeeded in winning more votes from those close to the three parties who support her.
Rastislav Toth believes that Frantisek Miklosko and Zuzana Martinakova voters will face a dilemma and may choose not to vote in the second round. Neither Peter Horvath nor Ratislav Toth think that the two candidates will call to vote for either one or the other of the first round winners. Finally Laszlo Ollos, a political analyst from the University of Nitra forecasts a rise in turnout in the second round on 4th April. "Now things are clearer and the opposition candidate has a real chance of winning."
If Iveta Radicova wins on 4th April, she will be the first woman President of the Republic of Slovakia and also the first Head of State not to come from the former Communist Party.