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    05 April 2009

    Gasparovic Re-Elected Slovak President in Runoff

    Slovak President Ivan Gasparovic won a second five-year term in a run-off election with the support of Prime Minister Robert Fico.

    Gasparovic, 68, defeated Iveta Radicova, a 52-year-old sociologist and a lawmaker for the largest opposition party, in a second round of elections yesterday, according to results released today by the Central Election Commission in Bratislava, Slovakia . Gasparovic took 55.5 percent of votes, while his challenger had 44.5 percent.

    The election was a test of Fico’s popularity after he led the country into the euro region in January and seeks to sustain policies to spend more on the welfare system as the economy slows. His Smer party has backed Gasparovic and billboards around the country show the two politicians under a “Together for Slovakia ” banner.

    Gasparovic isn’t a member of Smer, though he thought a “loss would be a failure of Smer and the coalition,” according to a recording by SITA news agency on Sme newspaper’s Web site.

    Radicova was minister of social affairs in the Cabinet of Fico’s predecessor Mikulas Dzurinda.

    Gasparovic was a parliamentary speaker under former Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar between 1994 and 1998, when the country was criticized for democratic shortcomings. He won his first presidential term five years ago, beating Meciar.

    The job of the Slovak president is largely ceremonial though its powers include appointing constitutional judges and vetoing legislation approved by parliament. A presidential veto can be overruled by a majority of all 150 lawmakers.

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