Liberal candidate Zuzana Čaputová won Slovakia’s presidential election on Saturday, becoming the central European country’s first ever female president.
Despite having almost no political experience, the 45-year old lawyer and anti-corruption campaigner won 58.4 per cent of the vote in the second-round vote, defeating the European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic. The political newcomer soared to popularity in just a few months with a campaign that focused on a struggle for justice.
Zuzana Čaputová is due to take office on 15 June 2019.
The president is mostly a ceremonial role in the country of 5.4 million, as Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini is responsible for overseeing the government. But when Čaputová takes office in June, she will have important blocking powers, will be the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and will have the power to appoint top judges.
Čaputová was born to a working-class family in the town of Pezinok in what was then central Czechoslovakia. The divorced mother of two daughters rose to prominence and was nicknamed the “Erin Brockovich” of Slovakia after leading a successful case against a toxic landfill that was planned in her hometown in 2016. Her 14-year-long case against the wealthy land developer involved organizing protests, filing lawsuits and writing petitions to the European Union. The campaign earned her a prestigious Goldman Environmental prize in 2016.