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Caputova: Slovakia’s president-opt for offering opportunity to populism

“Populism isn’t always the most effective manner to clear up frustrations, or crises or a loss of consider in politicians,” says Zuzana Caputova.

Rays of spring sunshine poured through the plate glass windows of a Bratislava café for her first tv interview with the worldwide media considering she changed into elected president of Slovakia on 30 March.

“A positive tone and extra advantageous emotions – and now not working with worry or threats; those are a ways extra effective, and preserve out tons extra desire,” she says.

Western media have already been accused of giving too beneficial coverage to an openly liberal, seasoned-european political newcomer who defends conventional media, decries fake news and whose public pronouncements are peppered with phrases like “truth”, “tolerance” and “compassion”.

but Ms Caputova’s modern message was both unusual and controversial in a conservative, in large part Catholic country inclusive of Slovakia.

Slovakia elects first lady president
The political amateur bucking Europe’s populist trend
“I think the primary theme of this election turned into justice, fairness, equality. If I feel that a specific minority is the sufferer of hate, then my responsibility is to talk out approximately it and shield them,” she says.

“however in relation to sensitive cultural and ethical questions which includes the rights of human beings of gay orientation, the manner I see it’s far that any exchange ought to come about as the end result of social consensus,” provides the divorced mother-of-two, who supports the rights of homosexual couples to adopt youngsters if the alternative is those children languishing in orphanages.

‘thought’ to citizens beyond Slovakia
virtually her phrases strike a sharp contrast to the aggressive, nativist language of political leaders some other place in relevant Europe.

photograph copyrightREUTERS/EPA
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Hungary’s Viktor Orban has promoted “intolerant democracy” while Milos Zeman has heat family members with Vladimir Putin
She is diplomatic while asked if as a minimum a number of her victory speech became directed at human beings like Hungary’s PM Viktor Orban or her Czech counterpart Milos Zeman, who says Islam is the enemy of Western civilisation and has joked with Russia’s Vladimir Putin about liquidating journalists.

“nicely, it turned into primarily a message to humans and citizens interior my very own united states,” she says.

“but of direction my election can also function an inspirational enjoy for humans in other international locations.”

Caputova ‘copied’ the populists
subsequent week, the president-decide on will pass from her as a substitute dingy places of work close to the River Danube to provisional quarters by way of the presidential palace, to work on her transition in advance of her inauguration on 15 June.

And whilst her 58% showing changed into a lovely political fulfillment for a novice, she isn’t always universally adored.

“Her election slogan become ‘permit’s stand up To Evil’,” says Juraj Marusiak, a political scientist with the Slovak Academy of Sciences.

picture copyrightAFP
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Ms Caputova’s campaign posters examine: “arise against evil, together we will do it”
“In doing that she reduced her political message to the binary opposition among ‘proper’ and ‘evil’ and as such she become copying exactly the kind of political mobilisation used by populist politicians.”

Others factor out the restrictions of her largely, however not completely, ceremonial role.

“there is a 25-12 months way of life ever considering that Slovakia have become independent that the president is basically a weak baby-kisser, a 2nd-price type of political personality,” says Jaroslav Daniska, a commentator for the conservative online day by day Postoj.

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Ms Caputova (right here with Rob Cameron) has stepped down as deputy chair of the liberal modern Slovakia party
“If Ms Caputova toes this line and would not attempt to be too politically lively, she’ll be popular,” he says.

“If she attempts to press her birthday party’s schedule, she will be able to danger being politically marginalised.”

inside hours of her victory there had been signs and symptoms that Zuzana Caputova turned into already turning into a consummate politician.

Her first act as president-elect was to move the street from her election party to mild a candle on the memorial to Jan Kuciak, the journalist whose homicide spark off a seismic chain of events that has led her to the presidential palace.

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The 2018 homicide of Jan Kuciak and his fiancee closely encouraged Slovak electorate searching for exchange and an cease to corruption
“I worked with Jan on several cases. I ought to see that he became an honest and precise journalist,” she instructed me.

“To nowadays his tragic dying and the death of his fiancée is uncovering increasingly more information about the weak spots in our judicial machine.”

I don’t doubt for a second that her tribute was a sincere one; Zuzana Caputova, like many Slovaks, still seems deeply pained by means of the mindless deaths of two young people.

but with ease there has been additionally a journalist there to film it. And inside seconds it become being streamed as a facebook stay.

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