A pro-Ukraine liberal and close to power, pro-Russia, in the second round of the presidential election

According to almost complete results, former Foreign Minister Ivan Gorkoc and Slovak Parliament Speaker Peter Pellegrini will face each other in the second round of the presidential election. .

According to the Slovak Statistics Office, Mr. Korgok got 42.44%, which Mr. Pellegrini had 37.1%. The second phase of polling will be held on April 6.

Analysts expected a close result. Mr. Pellegrini, 48, and Mr. Korgok, 59, led opinion polls ahead of the vote, marked by deep divisions over the war in neighboring Ukraine.

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Former Prime Minister Pellegrini is in the pro-Russian ruling camp led by Prime Minister Robert Fico, which questions Ukraine's sovereignty.

The liberal Korgok, backed by the opposition, remains staunchly pro-Ukraine, as is outgoing President Zuzana Kaputova, a critic of the government who does not seek a second term.

“It's a huge win for us.”Mr. Pellegrini announced to the press. “The results show that most Slovaks do not want a liberal, right-wing or progressive president”He estimated. “Most were interested in a president who would protect Slovakia's national interests, not drag Slovakia into war, talk about peace, put Slovakia's interests first”he added.

Mr. Korgok, if he is elected, Mr. Faced with strong opposition from Figo's team, he made up his mind. “Reassuring, Inspiring”. “But I have my feet on the ground,” he said, “and I want to address voters who do not accept the direction this government is giving Slovakia. (…) including foreign policy”. “I want to be a president (…) Represents the country at home and abroad and takes independent decisions without taking orders”he said.

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Mainly symbolic role

Although his office is primarily ceremonial, the Slovak president ratifies international treaties, appoints key judges and is commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The president of the country of 5.4 million people, a member of NATO and the European Union, can also veto laws adopted by parliament.

The war in neighboring Ukraine divided Slovaks during the election campaign. During the last debate before the vote, Mr. Pellegrini, 48, made the call “Immediate ceasefire and opening of peace talks” Between Kiev and Moscow. 59 year old Mr. A position that Korgok condemned. “The Russian Federation has violated international law (…) I don't think Ukraine should give up part of its territory to achieve peace.he told Agence France-Presse. “Peace cannot be synonymous with surrender”reiterated.

Although he is contesting as an independent, Mr. Korcak is backed by opposition parties who hope a victory for Pellegrini, who is close to Prime Minister Robert Fico, will pave the way for a presidential pardon for government allies found guilty of corruption.

Figo's cabinet has recently been criticized for adopting a controversial reform of the criminal code that specifically lowers penalties for corruption and economic crimes.

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The world with AFP

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