Slovakia: former foreign minister running for president
Former Slovak foreign minister Ivan Korčok has announced his candidacy for the post of President of Slovakia. Korčok adheres to the pro-Western course of Zuzana Čaputová, who has declined to run for re-election. The Slovaks elect a new president in spring 2024, but the parliamentary election will be held on 30 September, and in this election pro-Russian ex-prime minister Robert Fico could make a comeback.
Continuity is desirable
Sme welcomes Korčok’s candidacy:
“From the moment Zuzana Čaputová announced that she would not have enough strength for the next term, Korčok’s candidacy has been explicitly anticipated as an expression of the continuity of prudent and decent policies. Of course, we cannot predict in detail how Korčok would respond to the daily political disputes and challenges of being president. ... However, he is likely to make it clear that we belong in Europe and not with illiberals like Viktor Orbán. Korčok will not hesitate to designate the West and the US as Slovakia’s partners. He will not romanticise Slovakia’s neutrality while Russia murders its neighbours.”
Hopes of countering Fico
For the section of the Slovak population that is pro-Western, this news is like a light at the end of the tunnel, says Lidové noviny:
“Slovak liberals can be hopeful again. After the incumbent president Zuzana Čaputová disappointed many of them when she announced she would not run for a second term, a form of depression spread throughout her camp. ... For these people, the prospect of the populist ex-prime minister Robert Fico, known for his pro-Russian positions, winning the parliamentary elections is a nightmare. But with the candidacy of former foreign minister Ivan Korčok for president, it may now seem to them that the looming dark clouds are dissipating.”