The post of president was created in 1993 when the country became independent from the former Czechoslovakia. The President is directly elected by the people for five years and is eligible to serve for only two terms. He is the leader of the state and has largely ceremonial powers that he exercises at his discretion. The first President Michal Kovac was elected by a national council. However, upon the expiry of his term, they were unable to choose the successor leaving the position vacant for about a year. During that time, the duties got transferred to the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the National Council. There was also a forced constitutional amendment so that the position is filled through a direct election by the citizens. Since then, there have been elections in 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014.
Presidents Of Slovakia Since 1993
Michal Kováč (1993-1998)
He served from 1993 to 1998 having been elected by the National Council. He was an economist and worked with a number of banks before finally getting into politics. He also spent some time in Cuba and London in the 1960s. Before the split of the former Czechoslovakia, he had served as a minister in the previous governments. He was one of the key leaders pushing for the independence of the country. His leadership is remembered for the intense rivalry with the PM which culminated in the kidnapping of his son. He became ineligible for the first direct election.
Rudolf Schuster (1999-2004)
He was the president for four years from 1999 to 2004. He was elected on May 29th, 1999 in the first direct elections in the country. He was inaugurated on June 15th the same year. He later ran for reelection in 2004 but was defeated badly only managing less than 8% of the votes. He was born in January 1936. Before his election to the Presidency, he had served in a number of Mayoral positions when the country was still united as Czechoslovakia. He also got assigned as ambassador to some countries. He was a fan of sports, travelling and writing among others.
Ivan Gašparovič (2004-2014)
He was the President for two terms from 2004 to 2014. He replaced Rudolf Schuster after having won the 2004 poll. He was trained as a lawyer and served as a prosecutor in different courts in the country before getting into politics. He was expelled from the Communist Party for supporting reforms that were against the establishment. During his presidency he adopted a non-confrontational approach to politics that greatly increased his popularity. He remains unapologetic for his role in the reign of Mecair that is widely seen to have set the country back in terms of economic development.
Andrej Kiska (2014- to date)
He has been the president from 2014 to date. He was born in 1963 and is renowned for his philanthropy and business acumen. He ran as an independent candidate and beat very many mainstream candidates of the established political parties. He studied electrical engineering and after the Velvet Revolution went to the US. He later set up a very famous Hire Purchase Companies. In efforts to further his work of charity, he registered a non-profit organization. He won the presidency in the second round of voting.
Significance of the Presidency
The presidents have been seen as unifying factors for the country. They have also served as neutralizing figures in the cases when the PMs have adopted extreme stances on critical issues in the country.
|Presidents of the Slovak Republic||Term in Office|
|Vladimír Mečiar||January to March of 1993 (Interim)|
|1998-1999 (Acting Administrations)|
|Andrej Kiska (Incumbent)||2014-Present|