Korcok – Pellegrini in Second Round of Slovakia’s Presidential Election

Zuzana Caputova

Contrary to predictions backed by numerous opinion polls that gave incumbent Slovak Parliament Speaker Peter Pellegrini a slight lead, the first round of Slovakia’s presidential election instead rewarded 59-year-old Ivan Korcok, who was backed by the opposition, with 42.51% of the vote.

His rival Pellegrini managed to get 37.02% of the vote in his favor. Pellegrini, 48, former Slovak prime minister, is the leader of the Voice of Social Democracy (HLAS) party, which is part of the dominant pro-Russian group led by Prime Minister Robert Fico that opposes sending new European weapons to Ukraine. In contrast, Korcok, former foreign minister between 2020 and 2022, adheres to Western and pro-Ukrainian positions, as does outgoing President Zuzana Caputova, who decided not to run for a second term.

The armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been at the center of the election debate in Slovakia, a full member of NATO and the European Union. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has sharply criticized the EU’s pro-Ukrainian policy and blocked Bratislava’s military and financial aid to Kiev.

Thus, the two main candidates to replace outgoing President Caputova will meet in a runoff election on April 6.