Alexander Supik/CTK/AP
Presidential candidate, businessman and philanthropist Andrej Kiska (c.) speaks to journalists as his father Andrej Kiska Sr. (l.) and his daughter Natalie Kiskova (r.) look on after casting their ballots in the second round of the presidential elections in Poprad, Slovakia, March 29. Kiska's rival is Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico.

Andrej Kiska, political newcomer, elected Slovak president

Andrej Kiska, a successful businessman-turned-philanthropist, won 59.4 percent of the vote in a runoff ballot.

Political newcomer Andrej Kiska has been elected to the largely ceremonial post of Slovakia's president, in an embarrassing defeat for his rival, Prime Minister Robert Fico, according to complete results released early Sunday.

Kiska, a successful businessman-turned-philanthropist, won 59.4 percent of the vote in a runoff ballot, the Statistics Office said. Fico, who trailed with 40.6 percent, conceded defeat and congratulated his challenger.

"I will try to make our politics more human," Kiska, 51, told a cheering crowd at a hotel in the capital, Bratislava.

Kiska, who until recently had been a relative unknown in his country, attracted voters fed up with corruption and mainstream politics.

"I will stand by every decent citizen of this country," he said.

Kiska becomes the Slovakia's fourth president since the country gained independence after the split of Czechoslovakia in 1993.

Kiska founded two successful credit companies in the 1990s that he sold to a bank in 2005. He later co-created the charity Good Angel, which contributes money to families who have financial troubles because they have seriously ill children.

The loss is a bitter pill to swallow for Fico.

The leader of Slovakia's dominant left-leaning SMER-Social Democracy party is the country's most popular politician. The 49-year-old led his party to a landslide victory in the 2012 parliamentary election. That allowed it to govern alone, the first time a single party has held power in Slovakia since its 1993 split from Czechoslovakia.

The Slovak presidency is largely ceremonial, although the president appoints Constitutional Court judges and veto laws. A parliamentary majority can override vetoes.

The president also picks the prime minister after parliamentary elections, generally choosing the chairman of the winning party or the leader who has the best chance to form a coalition. Slovakia's next parliamentary elections are in 2016.

Kiska succeeds Ivan Gasparovic, the only president since independence who has ever been elected to two five-year terms. Gasparovic's final term expires June 15.

As prime minister, Fico remains the country's most powerful politician but will have to deal with a more critical president than Gasparovic has been.

Fico said he needed few days to think over the defeat.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Andrej Kiska, political newcomer, elected Slovak president
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today