Standing Against The Wind!
Zuzana Čaputová has recently been elected as the first female President of Slovakia… and she stands as the youngest president in the History of Slovakia at the age of 45, as well!
Čaputová defeated the top ruling party candidate and senior Vice President of European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič, in the recently concluded Presidential Election… Although the social activist lacks a vast political experience, she is, by profession, a successful lawyer! During election rallies, she had highlighted her fight against Šefčovič as a conflict between good and evil!
Slovakia emerged as a separate nation in the later stages of the end of the Cold War, when Czechoslovakia finally broke down in 1989… The Velvet Revolution, sans bloodshed, triggered Czechoslovakia’s dissolution into two successor states – the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic… Slovakia, led by Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar, declared itself a sovereign state on July 17, 1992, meaning that its laws took precedence over those of the Federal government!
Throughout the autumn of 1992, PM Mečiar and his Czech counterpart Václav Klaus negotiated the details for disbanding the Federation. In November, the Federal Parliament voted to dissolve the country officially on December 31, 1992. The Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic went their separate ways after January 1, 1993, an event that is popularly known as the Velvet Divorce… and from that time, Slovakia has seen its first female President!
Grassalkovich Palace in Bratislava is the seat of the President of Slovakia
Political Experts believe that the murder of a journalist in 2018 had quite an impact on this election… Jan Kuciak, the Slovak journalist, who was murdered, was about to publish an investigation alleging high-level political corruption linked to the Italian mafia! His killing sparked calls for fresh Anti-Corruption Protests in the small EU member state. Kuciak was shot dead in front of his fiancée in February 2018… And, Čaputová had attacked her rival over this issue! While Čaputová secured 58% of votes, Šefčovič managed to get 42%.
The President-elect came to the limelight as a promising lawyer while dealing with a case of landfill, which would aggravate pollution of the soil, air and water in Pezinok and its surrounding areas, for more than a decade! Čaputová, a divorcee, is a mother of two daughters.
A memorial to journalist Jan Kuciak in his newsroom
It is expected that the first female president will give an importance to social reform programmes. Same-Sex Marriage is still not recognised in Slovakia… Political experts are of the opinion that the president-elect will legalise this sort of marriage. Liberal Čaputová may also concentrate on the LGBT issue, as she had criticised the Slovak government for denying rights to homosexuals, and also for banning abortion, in past!
Bratislava, capital and largest city of Slovakia
Čaputová’s victory is important not only for her country, but also for Eastern Europe and for the entire world. She is not an experienced politician. In recent times, people in many European countries (and in Donald Trump’s America) have elected non-political persons as heads of the government after becoming frustrated with their political leaders. However, majority of those non-political persons become popular due to the wave of anti-immigrant intolerant ultra-national sentiment that has been prevalent there… Those non-political persons have managed to convince the voters to believe that the principal problem of their countries is migrants… So, it is important for those countries not to entertain foreigners! Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán or Poland’s Law and Justice Party used this sentiment to stay in power! In Slovakia, the rightists got 25% of votes. However, Čaputová went against this trend and gained the confidence of the people with her liberal and pluralist ideology. She successfully motivated the voters to support good politics with her experience as a lawyer. Even, she talked about Slovakia’s responsibility, as a member of the EU, towards migrants.
It is clear from the outcome of the Presidential Election that the Slovaks have accepted Čaputová’s vision. Her courage to follow the path of liberal politics would definitely pay dividends. The Presidential Election in Slovakia cannot (and should not) be considered as Bratislava Spring. The world leaders should take this lesson from Čaputová, as how to win the peoples’ confidence with good politics!
Interestingly, Čaputová is the member of Progressive Slovakia Party that had no seats in the Parliament. She is set to assume office on June 15, 2019…
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