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Slovakia faces new president. Fico's associate takes oath of office

Slovakia faces new president. Fico's associate takes oath of office Peter Pellegrini, the new president of Slovakia (photo: Getty Images)

Slovakia inaugurated President-elect Peter Pellegrini. He replaced Zuzana Čaputová, who was pro-Ukrainian.

"But today I am addressing all citizens of the Slovak Republic. Even to those who voted for someone else. I speak to them with the hope that my work as president will one day also be worthy of their respect. And I also address those who did not vote at all, because they are also full members of Slovak society and participate in its formation," Pellegrini said in his inaugural speech.

In his speech, Pellegrini made an ambiguous reference to the war in Ukraine, in particular, to the Ukrainian refugees who were accepted by Slovakia.

"Right on the streets, we meet the frightened faces of refugees from Ukraine, many of whom were trying to save their lives. In the spirit of our traditional hospitality, we offered them dinner, shelter and a helping hand. But their frightened gaze, full of despair and endless tragedy, destroyed our confidence that we would only know about the war from the stories of our grandfathers," he said.

Who is Peter Pellegrini

Peter Pellegrini entered politics in 2002 as an assistant to a deputy from the Smer party founded by Robert Fico. In 2018, Pellegrini became the Prime Minister of Slovakia.

Today, Pellegrini is the leader of the left-wing Voice party, which is in a coalition with the party of now-Prime Minister Fico. Like the Slovakian prime minister, Pellegrini publicly opposed helping Ukraine in the war with Russia.

In early May of this year, Pellegrini called on Ukraine and Russia to hold peace talks and suggested that they should be held in Bratislava.