[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 18 April, 2004, 10:44 GMT 11:44 UK
Underdog wins Slovak election
Slovak President-elect Ivan Gasparovic
Low turnout has given Mr Gasparovic an unconvincing mandate
Ivan Gasparovic has been elected as Slovak president in a surprise outcome as the country prepares to join the EU.

Results show the former parliamentary leader easily beat his one-time boss, the controversial ex-prime minister Vladimir Meciar.

But the turnout for Saturday's second round of voting was at an all-time low.

The BBC's Rob Cameron in the capital Bratislava says the campaign was marked by little enthusiasm for either of the two presidential candidates.

The vote for the largely ceremonial post of president took place just two weeks before Slovakia is due to join the European Union.

Little difference

Hardline nationalist Mr Meciar - whose government brought Slovakia instability and isolation in the mid-1990s - won more than a third of votes in the first round of voting and was predicted to win again.

But former parliament chairman Mr Gasparovic humiliated his former boss, securing nearly 60% of the vote according to the electoral committee.

Ivan Gasparovic: 59.91%
Vladimir Meciar: 40.09%
Turnout: 43.5%

However, our correspondent says many Slovaks will have mixed feelings about the results of this election.

Critics say there is little difference between the two men.

Mr Gasparovic backed all of Mr Meciar's controversial policies during his time in office.

In the end 43.5% of Slovaks voted in Saturday's election.

Our correspondent says that for many it was a vote against Mr Meciar rather than a vote for his less well-known, former right-hand man.

The BBC's Juliet Dunlop
"Voters have dealt Meciar an embarrassing blow"

Ex-PM in Slovakia poll surprise
05 Apr 04  |  Europe
Press shock over Meciar victory
05 Apr 04  |  Europe
Strongman of Slovak politics
04 Apr 04  |  Europe
Country profile: Slovakia
01 Apr 04  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Slovakia
01 Apr 04  |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific