Czech politicians broadly positive on Čaputová’s election as Slovak president

Zuzana Čaputová, photo: ČTK/Václav Šálek

A number of leading politicians in the Czech Republic have hailed the historic election of the pro-European Zuzana Čaputová as president of Slovakia. Some others, however, have been cooler on Čaputová’s ascent to Bratislava’s Grassalkovich Palace.

Zuzana Čaputová,  photo: ČTK/Václav Šálek
The victory of the pro-European lawyer and political novice makes her Slovakia’s first female president and can be regarded as a success for liberal forces in the region.

Elections in Slovakia are also a major news story in the Czech Republic and many followed the second round of voting in the neighbouring state’s presidential elections closely.

Among the first senior Czech officials to congratulate president-elect Čaputová was Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček.

“For the Czech Republic it means that the president of Slovakia will be a pro-European politician. It’s also a guarantee that relations between us will continue to develop. For us, Slovakia is a specific partner. We have a special relationship. In this regard, I perceive continuity.”

The Slovak-born Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, tweeted congratulations to Zuzana Čaputová, who he said had led a fair campaign and remained herself.

Maroš Šefčovič,  photo: ČTK/Martin Mikula
President Miloš Zeman, who met her opponent Maroš Šefčovič last week, did not make a statement. However his spokesman said on Twitter “we congratulate Zuzana Čaputová on her victory… and look forward to meeting her in the Czech Republic!”

Jiří Pospíšil is the leader of the TOP 09 party.

“I think it’s a good choice. Mrs. Čaputová is a modern, pro-European politician. I think it can contribute to the cultivation of the Slovak political scene. She will build on the work of the incumbent [Andrej Kiska] and can further reinforce the position of Slovakia within Europe and the EU.”

On Twitter Mr. Pospíšil said he hoped the Czech Republic would also one day get a decent and forward-looking president unburdened by the past.

Marek Výborný, himself the freshly elected leader of the Christian Democrats, was also among those who welcomed the outcome of the weekend’s second round of voting.

Photo: ČTK/AP/Petr David Josek
“I think that it’s good news for Slovakia. It’s good news for the Czech Republic. We have been really close since 1992, and I think it will remain that way following the presidential elections.”

Less enthused was Tomio Okamura of Freedom and Direct Democracy.

“She openly supports the destruction of the traditional family, traditional European, Christian values and sovereign national states. What’s important for the Czech Republic is that not even President Zuzana Čaputová can overturn the unity of the Visegrad Four and its critical position towards the policies of Brussels.”

Zuzana Čaputová will be sworn in June. She has already announced that her first foreign visit will be to the Czech Republic.