Slovakia’s presidential election is to go to a second round.
Amid a low turnout, no one candidate managed to win more than half the votes cast in Saturday’s ballot, as is required for outright victory. So a head to head battle between the two frontrunners will now take place next month. Hoping to hold onto his largely ceremonial post, President Ivan Gasparovic won the first round, with more than 46 percent of the votes. But chief challenger Iveta Radicova scored better than expected at 38 percent. She will now be looking for support from those who had backed other candidates in the first round. She is the first woman to have a realistic chance of becoming president in traditionally conservative Slovakia. But her task is made all the more difficult by the strength of public support for leftist Prime Minister Robert Fico, who has strongly endorsed her opponent. Whether that will be enough for the outgoing president to see off her challenge will be determined in a run-off ballot on April 4.