The Social Democratic Parliament Speaker Peter Pellegrini has won the presidential election in Slovakia. After 99.8 percent of the electoral districts were counted, with a good 53 percent of the votes he was clearly ahead of the liberal opposition candidate Ivan Korcok, who got just under 47 percent. The election commission announced this. Originally, surveys and initial partial results had suggested a narrower result. The official final result should be available by Sunday afternoon at the latest.

Korcok admitted his defeat to journalists in Bratislava and congratulated Pellegrini on his victory. The TASR news agency quoted the liberal former foreign minister, whom the liberal and conservative opposition parties had also supported in mass protests against the government, as saying that he was “disappointed and disillusioned.”

During the election campaign, Pellegrini campaigned with the slogan “Slovakia needs calm” to overcome the deep domestic political divide in the EU and NATO country, which borders Ukraine to the east. Korcok, on the other hand, promised to form a counterweight to the left-wing nationalist government under Prime Minister Robert Fico. Korcok advocates decisive military support for Ukraine, while Pellegrini urges caution when it comes to arms deliveries, also referring to the position of Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Similar to Germany, the head of state in Slovakia primarily has a representative role. But the president’s word carries great weight in public. In the event of government crises, he can temporarily set up a government himself, as last happened around 2023.