President of Slovakia

The president of the Slovak Republic (Slovak: Prezident Slovenskej republiky) is the head of state of Slovakia and the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. The president is directly elected by the people for five years, and can be elected for a maximum of two consecutive terms. The presidency is largely a ceremonial office, but the president does exercise certain limited powers with absolute discretion. The president's official residence is the Grassalkovich Palace in Bratislava.

President of the Slovak Republic
Prezident Slovenskej republiky
Flag of the President of Slovakia.svg
Presidential Standard
Зузана Чапутова (02-11-2021).jpg
Incumbent
Zuzana Čaputová
since 15 June 2019
ResidenceGrassalkovich Palace
Bratislava
AppointerPopular vote
Term lengthFive years
renewable once, consecutively
Inaugural holderMichal Kováč
2 March 1993
FormationConstitution of Slovakia
SuccessionLine of succession
Salaryc. 110,880 annually[1]
WebsitePresident of the Slovak Republic

History of the officeEdit

The office was established by the constitution of Slovakia on 1 January 1993 when Slovakia permanently split from Czechoslovakia and became independent. The office was vacant until 2 March 1993, when the first president Michal Kováč was elected by the National Council of Slovak Republic. However, in 1998, the National Council was unable to elect a successor to Kováč. As a result, for half a year after Kováč's term ended in March 1998, the position was vacant. The duties and powers of the office devolved upon the then prime minister and speaker of the National Council. To resolve the issue, the constitution was changed to provide for popular election of the president. Presidential elections have been held in 1999, 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2019.

The current president is Zuzana Čaputová, who took office on 15 June 2019.

Role and powersEdit

The president of Slovakia has a limited role in policy-making, as the office is largely ceremonial within the framework of a parliamentary republic. According to the constitution, the president is the supreme representative of the state both in Slovakia and abroad.[2]

The president represents the Slovak Republic externally and concludes and ratifies international treaties. The president may delegate to the Government or, with the Government's consent, to individual members of the Slovak Republic, the conclusion of international treaties.[2] Historically all Slovak presidents delegated this power to the Government. Technically it is officially done[clarification needed] by Decision of President No. 250/2001 Coll. (which superseded Decision of President No. 205/1993 Coll.), which is still in effect.[3]

Among the president's constitutional powers are nominating and appointing the prime minister. The president's choice is not limited, but by constitution the president through their decisions ensures due performance of constitutional bodies.[clarification needed] Because the government of whoever is appointed prime minister must receive a vote of confidence in parliament, the president usually appoints the leader of the winning party or coalition in parliamentary elections.

The president has sole discretion to appoint three members of the judicial council, one member of the Budget Council, and two members of the council of the Nation's Memory Institute; to award distinctions[clarification needed], to appoint the president and vice-president of the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic (from among the Constitutional Court judges), and to grant pardon or parole.[2]

The president can also veto any bill or proposal by the National Council, except for constitutional amendments.[2] This veto can be overridden if the National Council passes the same bill again with a majority of all members of the council, so this power is considered quite weak.

The president is formally the commander-in-chief of the Slovak armed forces, but this role is ceremonial, because by the constitution when the president acts as the commander-in-chief their decision is valid only after it is signed by the prime minister or a minister authorized by the prime minister, and in such cases the Government is responsible for the president's decision.[clarification needed] The same applies to grants of amnesty and appointments of chiefs of diplomatic missions.[2]

Among their other constitutional duties are signing bills into law, appointing ministers on the recommendation of the prime minister, and appointing various other state officials, such as generals, professors, judges, rectors, and prosecutors.[2]

The president has discretionary power over the appointments of some officials. For example, there have been cases when the president has refused to appoint vice-governors of the National Bank of Slovakia recommended by government. These actions of the president were confirmed by the Constitutional Court.[4]

In many cases the appointment of state officials is regulated by other laws. For example, the president's power to appoint constitutional judges is limited to selection from nominees voted by the National Council, from which the president has to appoint half. The appointment or recall of judges is determined by decisions of the Judicial Council, which submits its proposals to the president.

Presidential powers are substantially increased in the special circumstance when the National Council passes a vote of no confidence in the government.[2] In such a case, many executive powers of government (e.g. appointment of officials, foreign trips, signing treaties) are subject to the approval of the president, and the president can appoint the government without being subject to the approval of the parliament.[5]

SuccessionEdit

In the case when the president is unable to perform their duties or if the presidency becomes vacant for any reason, the speaker of the National Council and the Government, led by the prime minister, jointly perform the duties of the president.

List of Presidents of SlovakiaEdit

Slovak Republic (1993–present)Edit

No. Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Party Elected for Election
Took office Left office Duration
1   Michal Kováč
(1930–2016)
2 March
1993
2 March
1998
5 years Ind. HZDS 1993
Acting Presidents: Vladimír Mečiar, later Mikuláš Dzurinda (Prime Ministers) and Ivan Gašparovič, later Jozef Migaš (Chairmen of the National Council)
2   Rudolf Schuster
(born 1934)
15 June
1999
15 June
2004
5 years Ind. SOP 1999
3   Ivan Gašparovič
(born 1941)
15 June
2004
15 June
2014
10 years Ind. HZD 2004
Non-partisan 2009
4   Andrej Kiska
(born 1963)
15 June
2014
15 June
2019
5 years Ind. Non-partisan 2014
5   Zuzana Čaputová
(born 1973)
15 June
2019
Incumbent 3 years and 355 days Ind. PS 2019

Acting presidentsEdit

Name Term
Vladimír Mečiar
Ivan Gašparovič
2 March 1998 – 30 October 1998
14 July 1998 – 30 October 1998
Mikuláš Dzurinda
Jozef Migaš
30 October 1998 – 15 June 1999

Latest electionEdit

 
Results of the first round, showing vote strength by district.
 
Results of the second round, showing vote strength by district.

Zuzana Čaputová of the Progressive Slovakia party finished far ahead of the other candidates, receiving 40.6% of the votes, but failed to achieve the necessary threshold of 50%+1 vote from all registered voters to avoid a run-off. Maroš Šefčovič, the Vice-President of the European Commission for the Energy Union, who was running as an independent supported by the governing Smer-SD,[6] was the runner-up with 18.7% of the vote and earned the other place in the run-off. Voter turnout in the first round was 48.74%, the highest percentage for that stage of presidential elections since direct voting for the position was introduced in 1999.[7]

In the second round, Čaputová won election to the presidency, garnering 58.4% of the vote to Šefčovič's 41.6%. She became the first woman to be elected to the position and became Slovakia's youngest-ever president upon her inauguration on 15 June 2019.[8] The second round turnout of just 41.80% was the lowest for any round of presidential elections in Slovakia.[9] The number of votes with which Čaputová was elected to office is also the lowest for any directly elected Slovak president to date.[9]

CandidatePartyFirst roundSecond round
Votes%Votes%
Zuzana ČaputováProgressive Slovakia870,41540.571,056,58258.41
Maroš ŠefčovičIndependent400,37918.66752,40341.59
Štefan HarabinIndependent307,82314.35
Marian KotlebaKotleba – People's Party Our Slovakia222,93510.39
František MikloškoIndependent122,9165.73
Béla BugárMost–Híd66,6673.11
Milan KrajniakWe Are Family59,4642.77
Eduard ChmelárIndependent58,9652.75
Martin DaňoIndependent11,1460.52
Róbert ŠvecIndependent6,5670.31
Juraj ZábojníkIndependent6,2190.29
Ivan ZuzulaSlovak Conservative Party3,8070.18
Bohumila TauchmannováIndependent3,5350.16
Robert Mistrík[a]Independent3,3180.15
József Menyhárt[a]Party of the Hungarian Community1,2080.06
Total2,145,364100.001,808,985100.00
Valid votes2,145,36499.371,808,98597.92
Invalid/blank votes13,4950.6338,4322.08
Total votes2,158,859100.001,847,417100.00
Registered voters/turnout4,429,03348.744,419,88341.80
Source: Statistics.sk (first round), (second round)
  1. ^ a b Candidate withdrew, but was still on the ballot.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "ZÁKON O PLATOVÝCH POMEROCH NIEKTORÝCH ÚSTAVNÝCH ČINITEĽOV SLOVENSKEJ REPUBLIKY" (PDF) (in Slovak). Government of Slovakia. 13 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Constitution of the Slovak Republic". Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  3. ^ "250/2001 Z. z." Slov-Lex. Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  4. ^ "PL. ÚS 14/06". CODICES. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  5. ^ Slovakian president picks technocrat government after prime minister quits, Reuters, May 7, 2023
  6. ^ Liberal Upstart Caputova Elected 1st Slovak Female President The New York Times, 30 March 2019
  7. ^ Terenzani, Michaela (18 March 2019). "Solovakia Initial Presidential Election Overview" (PDF). CEC Government Relations. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  8. ^ Zuzana Caputova elected the President of Slovakia TASS, 31 March 2019
  9. ^ a b Terenzani, Michaela (31 March 2019). "Čaputová won on a record low turnout". spectator.sme.sk. The Spectator. Retrieved 31 March 2019.