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May 15, 2018 12:00 am | FILED UNDER: europe

Slovak President Kiska To Step Down After Current Term

By ČTK

Bratislava, May 15 (CTK) – Slovak President Andrej Kiska will not be defending his post in the election scheduled for next year because he wants to spend more time with his family, he told journalists today.

 

Kiska, 55, and his wife Martina have one daughter and two sons – Veronica, 13, Viktor, 9, and 10-month-old Martin. He also has two grown-up children from his previous marriage.

 

His wife did not move from Poprad, east Slovakia, to the capital of Bratislava after his election as president and with some exceptions she did not take part in his official programme.

 

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Kiska has been the head of state since 2014. He was not engaged in politics before. He defeated Prime Minister and Smer-Social Democracy leader Robert Fico in the runoff election four years ago.

 

Fico, who headed three cabinets and was forced to leave the post of prime minister in March amid a political crisis stirred up by the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee, previously said he would not run for president again either.

 

Kiska has been the most popular politician in the country for a long time. Though he will not run for president again, he does not intend to withdraw from public life.

 

He said today he would be considering how to use the trust that the public had in him in order to open a new political era and unite those who want to rule the country in a decent and responsible way.

 

He added that he would announce how he made up his mind by the end of this year.

 

Kiska’s decision not to be defending the post in the next direct election is no surprise as the media and some politicians speculated about this in the past.

 

Major Slovak political parties have not presented their presidential candidates yet. They were waiting for Kiska’s decision.

 

Shortly after Kiska’s statement, Robert Mistrik, a scientist and constituent member of the strongest opposition party Freedom and Solidarity who withdrew from politics in 2012, announced his presidential candidacy.

 

Political analyst and teacher Eduard Chmelar said previously he was considering his candidacy.

 

Media speculated that Stefan Harabin, a Supreme Court judge and former justice minister, might be running for president as well.

 

Kiska today again warned that the urgent problems in society were not solved.

 

“Unfortunately only the murder of two young people revealed what consequences a failing state and corrupt governing power might have. A government change alone does not suffice for the beginning of a new, better era,” he said, commenting on the development in Slovakia after Kuciak’s murder.

 

Kiska indirectly denoted Fico’s resignation as the end of one political era full of many political fights and emotions. It would be better if the president’s office did not face disputes in the future, he added.

 

Kiska has been promoting Slovakia’s focus on the European Union and NATO and he is an advocate of the sanctions imposed on Russia over its involvement in the fighting in Ukraine. He pointed to long-term problems in the Slovak healthcare and school systems, to widespread corruption and cronyism. He had tense relations with Fico.

 

Last year, Slovak media wrote that Kiska’s firm KTAG had to pay additional taxes because the tax office did not let the firm deduct the costs of Kiska’s presidential campaign from its taxes.

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