The presidential election has begun in Slovakia, which borders directly on Ukraine. Around 4.4 million eligible voters are expected to choose a successor to President Zuzana Caputova from among nine exclusively male candidates.

The still popular liberal politician has decided not to run for a second five-year term. As of midday, no major disruptions to the election process had been reported. Politicians from all camps called on citizens to participate actively in the ballot. Election advertising is not permitted on election day and the two days before.

The favorites are the Social Democratic Parliament President Peter Pellegrini, who is part of the government camp, and the former foreign minister and diplomat Ivan Korcok, who is supported by the liberal opposition. Korcok promises to be a counterweight to the left-wing nationalist government under Prime Minister Robert Fico and advocates decisive military support for Ukraine. Pellegrini advocates overcoming the deep domestic political divide and urges caution when it comes to arms deliveries.

Polling stations are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Post-election surveys are not planned, but partial results of the vote counting will be published on Sunday night. The official final result should be known by Sunday afternoon at the latest. If, as expected, no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, there will be a runoff election between the two most successful candidates on April 6th.

The office of president in Slovakia is, like in Germany, more representative. But the word of the head of state carries great weight in public. In the event of government crises, the head of state can temporarily set up a government himself, which Caputova did in 2023.