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Slovakia's presidential election: Pro-Ukrainian candidate wins first round by large margin

Slovakia's presidential election: Pro-Ukrainian candidate wins first round by large margin Presidential candidate of Slovakia Ivan Korcok (photo:

Former Slovak Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok scored a surprising victory in the first round of the presidential election on Saturday. In the second round, he will compete against a key ally of Prime Minister Robert Fico, Parliamentary Speaker Peter Pellegrini, reports Reuters.

The 59-year-old Korcok, a career diplomat who served as Foreign Minister in Slovakia's previous government, garnered the most votes among nine candidates in the first round of the election.

He received 42.4% of the vote, while 48-year-old Peter Pellegrini, the Speaker of Parliament who leads the Voice party, which is in a coalition with Prime Minister Robert Fico's political force, received 37.1% of the vote.

Both will advance to the second round, scheduled for April 6.

A Russian-leaning former Supreme Court chief, Stefan Harabin, gained the third most votes at just 11.75%, after getting support from a nationalist party that is also in the government coalition. His voters could help Pellegrini in the second round.

Slovakia's position on Ukraine

Last fall in Slovakia, parliamentary elections took place, resulting in the rise to power of Robert Fico and his party Direction - Social Democracy. Fico promised to end Slovakia's free military support for Ukraine and to block Ukraine's membership in NATO.

Fico has also repeatedly voiced Kremlin narratives and is known for his pro-Russian rhetoric. He believes that the war is a frozen conflict that supposedly cannot be resolved through military support for Ukraine.

Recently, Czechia canceled a joint cabinet meeting with Slovakia due to a conflict caused by differences in attitudes towards Russia and Ukraine.

Recently, Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová commented on the anti-Ukrainian position of the Fico government.

Political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko does not consider Pellegrini to be a pro-Russian candidate. Read more about it in the article by RBC-Ukraine.