DThe Social Democratic parliamentary speaker Peter Pellegrini has won the presidential election in Slovakia. After 99.8 percent of the electoral districts were counted, he was clearly ahead of the liberal opposition candidate Ivan Korcok, who got just under 47 percent, with a good 53 percent of the votes. The electoral commission announced this on Sunday night. 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”.

“I congratulate the election winner Peter Pellegrini,” Korcok told his supporters. At the same time, he criticized the election campaign as “not transparent”. “It has been proven that it is possible to become president of the Slovak Republic by spreading hate,” the losing candidate criticized his opponent.

Korcok urged that Pellegrini as president “will be independent and that he will act according to his own convictions and not under orders.” Korcok was alluding to the fact that Pellegrini is an ally of the Russia-friendly Prime Minister Robert Fico.

During the election campaign, Pellegrini used the slogan “Slovakia needs calm” to campaign for overcoming 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.