Bratislava, March 16 (TASR) – The polling stations for the first round of the presidential election in Slovakia closed at 10 p.m., with the exception of two locations in the far west and the east of the country, where the vote is due to be extended by 35 minutes and 76 minutes, respectively.
A polling station in Malacky (Bratislava region) opened 35 minutes later in the morning due to the fact that there were not enough members of the local electoral commission. As for Medzany (Presov region), the vote was interrupted for one hour and 16 minutes in the evening after a man hijacked a paper ballot box and broke it up on the street.
While the vote-counting across the country has already started–apart from the two locations–it won’t be possible to release any exit polls and preliminary results before 11:16 p.m., the authorities have announced.
The official results will be published by the State Electoral Commission on Sunday noon. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the valid votes, a run-off featuring the two strongest candidates will take place in exactly two weeks.
More than 4.45 million people with Slovak citizenship living in the country and abroad were entitled to select one of 13 candidates to occupy the country’s top political post for the next five years. A new president will be chosen, as the incumbent Andrej Kiska has decided not to run for re-election.
Largely considered to be the holder of a ceremonial post in Slovakia, which has a parliamentary system, the president „represents the country externally and internally“, according to the Constitution. The president is also commander-in-chief of the military and ratifies international treaties and appoints ambassadors, generals, judges and professors, for example. At the same time the president has the power to veto laws adopted by Parliament, although these vetoes can be overridden in the House by a simple majority of all lawmakers, including those absent.
The list of candidates in alphabetical order included: Bela Bugar, Zuzana Caputova, Eduard Chmelar, Martin Dano, Stefan Harabin, Marian Kotleba, Milan Krajniak, Frantisek Miklosko, Maros Sefcovic, Robert Svec, Bohumila Tauchmannova, Juraj Zabojnik and Ivan Zuzula.
If no bidder receives more than 50 percent of the valid votes on Saturday, a run-off featuring the top two candidates will take place on March 30.
Slovakia, which emerged as an independent state in 1993 following the parliament-approved split of Czechoslovakia, has had four presidents since then: Michal Kovac (the only president elected by Parliament), Rudolf Schuster, Ivan Gasparovic (elected for two terms) and Andrej Kiska.
The next president should be inaugurated on June 15.