Zuzana Caputova won the Presidential election in Slovakia, becoming the first woman to hold the post in the landlocked European nation. She defeated her high profile opponent Maros Sefcovic by winning 58 per cent of the total votes whereas Sefcovic was trailing at 42 per cent.
Caputova, who is a novice in the field of politics, rose to national prominence when she led a case against a company that wanted to build an illegal landfill in her hometown. The case lasted for a total of fourteen years, where Caputova won the case and also won the name ‘Slovakia’s Erin Brockovich,’ after the environmental campaigner played by Julia Roberts in the famous movie of the same name.
The election also followed the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova in February last year. Kuciak was investigating high-profile cases of fraud in Slovakia and his murder sparked off, perhaps, the biggest protests in Slovakia. Caputova cited the murder of Kuciak as one of the primary reasons for contesting for the elections. Also, her opponent Sefcovic, the vice president of the European Commission, was nominated by the ruling party – Smer SD – led by Robert Fico, who was forced to resign after the murder of Kuciak.
Her campaign to do with anti-corruption struck a chord with the voters, who were looking for a change from the ruling government. Also, in a nation where same-sex marriages are not legal, her liberal views have resonated with the youngsters.
She will be sworn in later in the year in June after the current President Andrej Kiska finishes his term.