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Page last updated at 23:27 GMT, Saturday, 4 April 2009 00:27 UK

Slovakia president wins election

Ivan Gasparovic in Bratislava, Slovakia, file photo from May 2008
Incumbent Ivan Gasparovic has the support of the centre-left government

President Ivan Gasparovic has declared victory after the second and decisive round of voting in Slovakia's presidential election.

With almost all the results in, Mr Gasparovic - the incumbent - had more than 55% of the vote, officials said.

That put him more than 10 points ahead of his centre-right challenger, Iveta Radicova.

Mr Gasparovic is backed by the two main parties in the government - the Social Democrats and the Nationalists.

The 68-year-old will be the first person to serve two five-year terms as president, a role that is largely ceremonial.

With 99% of ballots counted, Mr Gasparovic had 55.55% and Mrs Radicova 44.45% of the votes, officials said. Turn-out was just over 51%.

The run-off took place after Mrs Radicova, 52, made an unexpectedly strong showing in the first round of voting two weeks ago.

She took 38% of the vote, finishing not that far behind Mr Gasparovic.

Both main parties in the governing coalition seemed slightly spooked by the result, and threw all their weight behind the sitting president, says the BBC's Rob Cameron in Prague.

A defeat for Mr Gasparovic would have been seen as a referendum on the government and its leftist prime minister, Robert Fico, analysts said.



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