President’s Guard Bids Farewell to Kovac with Military Honours

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State funeral of Slovakia's first president Michal Kovac (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, October 13 (TASR) – The Slovak President’s Honour Guard said farewell to former Slovak president Michal Kovac (1993-98) with a military ceremony and honours on the Presidential Palace courtyard on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, the first part of Kovac’s state funeral took place at Bratislava Castle, where the grieving family received condolences. Apart from guests of the bereaved family, President Andrej Kiska, Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko, Prime Minister Robert Fico, former presidents Ivan Gasparovic and Rudolf Schuster and many other former parliamentary chairs, prime ministers, parliamentary vice-chairs and other top officials were in attendance.

All bells in Bratislava tolled for five minutes at noon, when the funeral procession set off for the Presidential Palace. The road was lined by members of Slovakia’s Armed Forces, while the casket was transported by soldiers on a gun carriage.

All those present observed a minute of silence for Kovac after the Slovak national anthem had been played. A 20-gun salute was fired from the bank of the Danube River.

Kovac’s casket was transferred from the gun carriage to a hearse. A public Requiem Mass at St. Martin’s Cathedral held by archbishop of Bratislava Stanislav Zvolensky will follow. Speeches will be delivered by President Kiska, former president Kovac’s advisor Pavol Demes and the ex-president’s step brother and historian Dusan Kovac.

A large screen has been installed by the cathedral to show the entire state funeral.

Kovac will be buried at Ondrejsky cemetery without the presence of media or the public, who were given the opportunity to bid him farewell at the castle on Wednesday (October 12).

Slovakia’s first president Michal Kovac, 86, died of heart failure in Saint Michael’s Hospital in Bratislava on Wednesday of last week (October 5).