Anti-corruption activist Zuzana Caputova has won Slovakia's presidential election by defeating high-profile diplomat Maros Sefcovic from the governing party in a second-round run-off vote. Environmental lawyer Caputova became the first female president of Slovakia. She got 58.01 per cent of the ballot after results from 91.26 percent of polling stations were counted, while EU energy commissioner Maros Sefcovic garnered 41.98, the Slovak Statistics Office said.
Sefcovic, the 52-year-old ruling party candidate, told reporters he called Caputova, 45, to congratulate her on the win and planned to also send flowers. “The first female president of Slovakia deserves a bouquet,” he said.
Political novice Caputova, who ran on a slogan of “Stand up to evil” had earlier said the campaign showed “that values such as humanism, solidarity and truth are important to our society.” She had also called the last few weeks “extremely challenging” and “an intense journey”.
No stranger to tough battles, Caputova won a 2016 award for successfully blocking a planned landfill in her hometown of Pezinok. More recently, she took to the streets of the central European country of 5.4 million along with tens of thousands of other anti-government protesters after investigative journalist Jan Kuciak was gunned down alongside his fiancee in February 2018.
He had been preparing to publish a story on alleged ties between Slovak politicians and the Italian mafia. The killings forced then prime minister Robert Fico to resign but he remains leader of the governing populist-left Smer-SD party and is a close ally of the current premier. Five people have been charged, including a millionaire businessman with alleged Smer-SD ties who is suspected of ordering the murders.