Zuzana Caputova was declared the victor in Slovakia’s presidential election early Sunday to become the nation’s first female president.
Radio Free Europe reported Saturday that Caputova, a liberal and environmental lawyer, took about 58.4 percent of the vote compared to 41.6 percent won by Maros Sefcovic, an independent candidate backed by the current ruling Direction-Social Democracy (Smer-SD) party.
The election Saturday was a runoff after Caputova previously won 40 percent of the vote in the first round of voting two weeks ago. Sefcovic, a former member of the country’s Communist Party, took just over 18 percent of the vote in that round.
Protests rocked the country ahead of this year’s elections, according to RFE, due to the killing of a journalist and his fiancee following the reporter’s investigation of high-profile corruption cases. The demonstrations were reportedly the largest in Slovakia’s post-Communist history.
Caputova, 45, touted her victory as a defeat of populist rhetoric in a victory speech to supporters, according to Reuters.
“I am happy not just for the result but mainly that it is possible not to succumb to populism, to tell the truth, to raise interest without aggressive vocabulary,” she said, according to the news service.
“This started in the local election last year, was confirmed in the presidential election, and I believe the European (parliamentary election in May) will confirm it as well.”