Credit: Peter Pellegrini, via Facebook

Pellegrini Elected Next Slovak President As Korcok Concedes Defeat

Peter Pellegrini, the speaker of the Slovak parliament and leader of the governing coalition party Hlas-SD, will be the next Slovak president; diplomat Ivan Korcok conceded defeat in yesterday’s presidential election runoff before the count of votes was completed. Provisional results put Pellegrini on around 53% of the vote, with Korcok on around 47%.

Korcok congratulated Pellegrini on his victory, but at the same time, criticised him for running a non-transparent campaign. Korcok also strongly refuted critics who had labelled him a “candidate of war”.

Slovakia’s new president will take office in mid-June, when the five-year term of the current president, Zuzana Caputova, ends. She did not seek re-election.

“I am sincerely disappointed, disillusioned. I am not broken. The result must be accepted and I respect it,” Korcok said. He said the presidential election in Slovakia showed that it can be won by running a non-transparent campaign and spreading hatred. He added that high turnout and fear decided the winner.

During the campaign, Pellegrini defended the decision of the current government of Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) to suspend state military aid to Ukraine, which is resisting a military invasion by Russia.

For his part, Pellegrini and some other politicians in the ruling coalition had claimed Korcok would be a president of war. “I will not forget this,” Korcok said, acknowledging his election defeat.

Korcok, 60, who was supported as a civic candidate by the parliamentary opposition parties, is a supporter of liberal democracy and Ukraine and a critic of Fico’s cabinet.

Many guests came to support Korcok at his campaign headquarters in the centre of Bratislava, including former Slovak president Andrej Kiska, former PM Mikulas Dzurinda, actor and former politician Milan Knazko, and former diplomat and actress Magda Vasaryova.

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