Slovak presidential race tightens; Fico has a closer rival

Though billboards that have been imposing images of presidential candidates on the population for several months suggest otherwise, the official campaigning for the March 15 presidential vote officially started on February 28.

Observers say this could still very much shuffle the deck, with the forthcoming televised debates remaining a major factor yet to come. The race has tightened up, as suggested by the pre-election polls, which no longer show the victory of Prime Minister Robert Fico as unshakeable, as it appeared to be two months ago. One poll has shown businessman and philanthropist Andrej Kiska climbing within three percent of Fico, whose popularity has been oscillating around 37 per cent, on average. Pundits noted that Kiska might be benefiting from his still blank political slate.

Behind Fico, who is running with the disciplined support of his Smer party, and the independent candidate Kiska, the best performers in the polls are Milan Kňažko, a Velvet Revolution leader; Radoslav Procházka, a lawyer and a former member of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), both running as independent candidates; as well as Pavol Hrušovský, the candidate of the People’s Platform and former boss of the KDH, who has seen his support dropping in recent polls.

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