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Zuzana Caputova: the Slovak woman who defeated European populism

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In unprecedented elections, Slovakia, a small democratic republic in Eastern Europe, elected the first woman president of the country

Zuzana Caputova: the Slovak woman who defeated European populism

The second round of victory

According to France 24, in the last week of March, Slovakia was in the second round to elect the person who would occupy the presidency for the next four years. The two candidates who remained in the race were the vice-president of the European Commission and the outsider Zuzana Caputova.

Leer en español: Zuzana Caputova: la eslovaca que venció al populismo europeo

On the day of the elections, Slovaks finally opted for the liberal Caputova with 58.2% of the votes, while the European parliamentarian Maros Sefcovic got 41.8% of the votes.

The first words of the new president were hopeful and without hatred, as reproduced by this same French TV chain: "Decency in politics is not a sign of weakness but can be our strength (...) you can talk about the truth and win the confidence of others without an aggressive vocabulary and low blows"

However, it is worth asking: Who is this new piece in Slovak chess?

 

The outsider from Bratislava

As the BBC mentioned, born in the capital of Slovakia, Bratislava, and a lawyer graduated from the Comenius University of Bratislava, one of the most prestigious universities in the country, Zuzana Caputova is the new political revelation in Eastern Europe.

The lawyer came to the presidency proposing new ideas in the political sphere. For example, the new president began to address issues that are difficult to address in the most conservative republics in Europe, such as the rights of people with different sexual orientation, as well as their rights as a couple.

Her proposals are not limited to this single area, because she also impressed for her environmental proposals. In the past, her most notable achievement was stopping an illegal toxic landfill that was polluting one of the water sources in the country. This achievement earned her the Goldman environmental prize in 2016.

Caputova is also a fervent follower of civil rights and free expression. Slovaks remember when she took to the streets to protest the murder of one of the country's most beloved journalists, who was investigating the drug trafficking links in the country's politics, as France 24 reported.

Finally, this lawyer is known for being a polyglot and speaking the most influential languages of Slovakia: Hungarian, Roma, Czech and, of course, Slovak.

What does her election mean in Europe and Slovakia?

With her election, this Slovak is setting a precedent against the populism that is being experienced in Eastern Europe, as well as providing a pro-European look. This same analysis was made by the Deustche Welle in one of their columns:

" 'The coordinates of the new Slovakian leader will be a strong pro-European orientation, with an emphasis on ecology and the strengthening of the rule of law and justice', recalled Ivan Stefunko, president of the Liberal party 'Progresivne Slovensko' in which Caputova still militates "

Even so, there are still many concerns for the new president regarding her own country. For example, the right-winged ideology that is developing in that European society, perfectly portrayed in the second presidential round.

According to this same German media, in the second round, it was noted the little influx that there was in the polls, because ultra- right-winged candidates were discarded in the first round, a situation that worries the new president.

However, we should not lose hope. According to the BBC, one of the teachers of this candidate's alma mater pronounced the following words for the prestigious journal in international relations Foreign Policy in reference to Caputova: "spirit of a leader in defense of civil rights, who fought successfully against powerful groups of political and economic interests "

Read also: Is Brexit approaching without an agreement?

 

LatinAmerican Post | Miguel Díaz

Translated from "Zuzana Caputova: la eslovaca que venció al populismo europeo"

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