Slovakia presidential election: What does Peter Pellegrini’s win signify?

On Sunday, citizens of Slovakia elected a new president in the form of Peter Pellegrini (chairman of the HLAS party) who collected 53.1 percent of the votes compared to his opponent Ivan Korčok, who managed 46.88 percent.

Peter Pellegrini, a professional politician who has worked in many positions in many ministries, was a member of social democratic party SMER until he founded HLAS in 2020. He currently serves as the speaker of the National Council since September 2023 and was the prime minister of Slovakia from 2018 to 2020. For many, Pellegrini’s party was seen as better than SMER (Direction – Slovak Social Democracy) with no corruption history and negative stance against parties with ultra-right tendencies. At the time of the parliamentary election last year, some believed he could even form a coalition with liberal parties on the right side of the political spectrum. Finally, he formed a coalition with SMER and nationalist party SNS.

Ivan Korčok, a diplomat and former foreign minister, attracted right liberal voters. He started diplomacy back in 1992 and was twice in the position of state secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the government of Mikuláš Dzurinda and also Robert Fico. He was also the ambassador and the permanent representative of the Slovak Republic to the EU. Among other things, he headed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2020 to 2022 as a nominee of the Freedom and Solidarity party, the most ‘pro free-market’ party in Slovakia. That is, during the governments of controversial Igor Matovič and Eduard Heger, two very unpopular governments according to surveys.

Since the first direct presidential election in Slovakia (1999) there was only one election with higher participation. Emotions on both sides were extremely intense. Korčok won in the first round, but there was high probability that voters of other candidates, mainly nationalist’s Štefan Harabin (third place in the first round) would give the vote to Pellegrini. The main theme of the campaign was war in Ukraine. Korčok has been described by Pellegrini as the “president of war“ and declared that he would prevent sending Slovak troops to Ukraine. As Pellegrini had been a member of the SMER party the main concern of Korčok’s voters was that Slovakia would follow the “Hungarian way” and deepen its ties with Russia. However, Pellegrini’s stance is clear: Slovakia will remain part of the EU and NATO.

Do you want to be informed of DiEM25's actions? Sign up here

We support the ICC’s call for Netanyahu’s arrest over war crimes

Varoufakis agreed with the ICC’s call for the Israeli prime minister to be prosecuted

Read more

Julian Assange allowed to appeal US extradition: We will continue to fight

Assange’s push for freedom has received a boost after judges at the UK high court granted him the right to appeal his US extradition

Read more

Yanis Varoufakis’ full speech to launch start of European election campaign

Yanis Varoufakis made an impassioned speech on Nakba Day to launch the start of the European Election campaign

Read more

Statement by Yanis Varoufakis on Athens Law School detainees

In light of the incarceration in detention centres and the planned deportation of European citizens from Greece, Varoufakis has spoken out

Read more