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Newcomer Wins Slovak Presidency

Andrej Kiska and daughter Natalia voted in Poprad in the second round of the Slovak presidential election on March 29.
Political newcomer and former businessman Andrej Kiska is headed for victory in the presidential runoff in the Central European state of Slovakia.

Results from the vote on March 29 put Kiska far in front of Prime Minister Robert Fico, who has already conceded defeat.

Results from 72 percent of voting stations showed Kiska, who has no party affiliation, leading by 59.2 to 40.8 percent.

"I promised I will be the president for all citizens and that I will unite and motivate," Kiska told supporters at his campaign headquarters in Bratislava on March 30, the morning after the vote. "Slovakia is beautiful, with excellent people, and it is just up to us to show how we are going to use all the great things that we have, so that we can be proud of our country, so that young people will want to live here, and so that we can feel good here."

The 51-year-old Kiska has been riding the wave of anti-Fico sentiment among rightwing voters as well as distrust in mainstream political parties because of corruption scandals and high unemployment.

The 49-year-old Fico heads Slovakia's dominant leftist SMER-Social Democracy party, which he led to a landslide victory in 2012 that allowed the party to govern alone in Slovakia.
Based on Reuters and AP reporting