Ivan Gasparovic was re-elected Slovakia's president in Saturday's runoff election with 55.53 percent of the vote, against the Christian Democrat Iveta Radicova, the country's first female presidential candidate.
AFP - Ivan Gasparovic was re-elected Slovakia's president in Saturday's runoff election with 55.53 percent of the vote, according to final results published by the statistics office.
His challenger, opposition candidate Iveta Radicova, got 44.47 percent of the votes cast.
The turnout exceeded 51 percent of more than four million registered voters.
Official results were expected to be confirmed by the national election committee later Sunday.
"The Slovak citizens respect me and I didn't disappoint them -- that's what decided the election," Gasparovic said after the results were announced.
"I am thankful to all the people and I promise I will always work for them," the 68-year-old lawyer added.
Radicova, a 52-year-old sociologist, conceded defeat and congratulated Gasparovic.
The former labour, social affairs and family minister let it be understood she'll stay in the political arena, though.
"Almost one million votes -- I view the support of so many people as a challenge, as a responsibility, as a new beginning," she said.
During the campaign, Gasparovic presented himself as a guarantee of stability and continuity amid the global economic crisis, with the full support of Prime Minister Robert Fico, a socialist.
The role of the president is mostly ceremonial in this parliamentary democracy that was established in 1993 after the fall of communism and the breakup of Czechoslovakia.
In the last few days, the campaign has centered around nationalist issues. The country is home to two large minorities, Romas in the east, and Hungarians in the south.
Radicova won several southern regions inhabited mostly by the Hungarian minority who make up 10 percent of the population.
Date created : 2009-04-05