Unexpected victor at Slovak poll

Slovakia's former parliamentary speaker, Ivan Gasparovic, has been voted the country's new president, scoring an upset victory over nationalist ex-prime minister Vladimir Meciar.

    Gasparovic won the presidential race, securing 59.9% vote

    Gasparovic, 63, Meciar's former right-hand man, scored a decisive victory in Saturday's presidential election, taking 59.9% of the vote compared to Meciar's 40.1%.

    His surprise victory came after an election which saw the original favourite, foreign minister Eduard Kukan, knocked out in the first round on 3 April.

    Meciar, the controversial former prime minister who negotiated the split of Czechoslovakia in 1993, had been widely expected to win the runoff due to his hardcore of faithful followers.

    Rallying support

    But the centre-left Gasparovic over the past two weeks rallied support from opponents of Meciar, arguing he was more acceptable to foreign partners.

    "I am accepted abroad," Gasparovic told Slovaks before voting began.

    Slovakia joined NATO on 2 April and is among 10 countries due to join the European Union on 1 May.

    Gasparovic served Meciar and his People's Party-Movement for a Democratic Slovakia party for a decade before breaking off to found his own party after they fell out in 2002.

    He was supported in his presidential attempt by opposition party Smer, the most popular political party in the country.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    No country in the world recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

    Canada: Attack on girl wearing hijab 'did not happen'

    Canada: Attack on girl wearing hijab 'did not happen'

    Toronto police announce hate crime investigation concluded after evidence shows cutting of girl's hijab didn't occur.

    New Boko Haram video purports to show Chibok girls

    Boko Haram video purports to show seized Chibok girls

    Girl appearing in footage says the abductees are safe, live g in comfort and do not want to be rescued.