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A Liberal environmentalist, a sensation in the högerpopulismens Central europe

During the last two weeks of the election campaign is allowed no opinion polls in Slovakia. But the last published, on 1 march, was sensational: Zuzana Caputova, a lawyer and newcomer in politics, was 52.9%. Second, the EU commissioner Maros Sefcovic, was far behind at 16.7 percent.

this Would be the outcome wins Caputova presidenposten already in the first round on Saturday.

" of course I am surprised. Long I lay in eighth place in the measurements, and for just a few weeks ago I also considered seriously to withdraw my candidacy, " says Caputova to DN in its kampanjhögkvarter in Bratislava.

prime minister Orbán that he has introduced an ”illiberal democracy” and attacking the UNION in the regular hate campaign. In Poland the ruling party, Law and Justice, and taking control of the media and the courts. In the Czech republic, president Milos Zeman nothing to hide their sympathies for Putin's Russia.

The norm among high-ranking politicians in this region is the tirade against the migrants – who largely conspicuous by their absence – and speaking of traditional family values.

In this increasingly conservative and nationalistic Central europe stands Slovakia.

Former prime minister Robert Fico – a younger and more välputsad variant of the Orbán – was forced to resign in the last year. And now, the country can have a president that is for abortion and the right for homosexuals to adopt, and which safeguards the independence of the courts and the media.

Image 1 of 2 Zuzana Caputova. Photo: Allis Nettréus Slide 2 of 2 Photo: Allis Nettréus Slideshow

is something a lot of politicians are talking about, but Caputovas background means that she can appear to be more credible than the other.

She came forward as a young activist, when she is in the 90's led the fight against an illegal dump in his hometown of Sala outside the capital Bratislava. Later, she has been involved in a campaign against the amnesties that former prime minister Vladimir Meciar gave to their own employees who were involved in a much-publicized case of kidnapping.

A Slovak president is not involved in the day to day politics, but has inter alia the power to appoint judges.

– as far As I can influence as president, I want to have a transition when it comes to how the justice system works, " says Caputova.

everything else in the Slovak republic, the murder of Jan Kuciak, a young investigative journalist, and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova. The two shot down in his home on February 21, 2018.

Kuciak was working at the time of the murder of a disclosure about the Italian mafia families with links to the high Slovak policymakers. He had in the previous articles explored the murky borderland between business, organized crime and politics in the home country.

the Killings shocked a nation, precisely because everyone recognized that it had to do with Kuciaks work. Many saw them as a symptom of something sick in society.

that brought together tens of thousands of slovaks on the streets every week – not only in Bratislava but also in many smaller cities and towns. Not since the ”velvet revolution” in 1989 had so many demonstrated.

Prime minister Fico appeared with a million euros on a table – a reward to whoever could provide information on the murders. But his machostil fought back against himself, as many saw Fico itself as responsible for a corrupt society.

finally got a Fico and several other rulers to resign.

Image 1 of 2 Photo: Allis Nettréus Slide 2 of 2 the presidential palace in Bratislava. Photo: Allis Nettréus Slideshow

the murdered Kuciak, and helped him several times in his role as a lawyer. She myself took part in the protest movement.

"Had it not been for the assassination and what happened then, it is not certain that I had set up in the elections," she says today.

Four people were arrested early on for the murder of Jan Kuciak and his fiancee and is awaiting trial.

On the Thursday it was time for another one: Marian Kocner, a notorious businessman who already was detained for tax evasion and whose business Kuciak had written about. He shall, according to witnesses contacted the journalist and threatened him. He singled out of the other defendants. Now being prosecuted for having ordered the murder.

with 5.4 million inhabitants. Caputova was not only familiar with Jan Kuciak, she has also crossed paths with the accused Marian Kocner in its fight against the illegal dump.

" He represented a company that sought permission for the dumping. He was very aggressive, " she says. At one point, we were both in a radio broadcast and he invited us to tea afterwards. He asked me if I was afraid of him. I said no. Then he wondered why I was so involved in this and what was needed to I would stop.

This, she tells about a man known for intimidation and blackmail – and that is now suspected of having ordered a murder.

command the respect of many slovaks. It is also the reason why Caputova have been forced to hire bodyguards, two heavily built men sitting silent at the entrance to her kampanjstab.

One evening during the valrörelsens last week we visit the STV, the Slovak public service television, in which six of the leading presidential candidates hold one last election debate.

the Caputova the principle not to attack their opponents as people. It sometimes makes her statements quite abstract – but many understand what she means.

Several of the opponents, however, have their sights set on the newcomer in the circle of candidates. She has been called a novice, ”an unknown girl” and worse.

in particular, draws many into her liberal stance on morality.

Jan Orosch recently asserted in a sermon that those who voted on the Caputova committed a sin and immediately ought to make a confession. During the live tv debate says two of her opponents that she is an ”extreme liberal fanatics”.

One of them is Marian Kotleba, a 41-year-old former teacher who is usually described as neo-nazi. He has not toppstriden in the choice to make.

The other is Stefan Harabin, a former justice minister who has the chance to become the face Caputova in a second round of voting on march 31. The fight for second place is now between him and the Maros Sefcovic, the EU commissioner who has the support of Smer, the ruling party.

have ties to the ”alternative media”, often with financing from Russia. These sites pumps now daily articles about Caputova – where she is said to be jewish, controlled by George Soros, in the hands of the homosexual activists.

" I have never seen any similar negative campaign here before. And 81 per cent is about Caputova, " says political scientist Viera Zuborova.

– It remains to be seen how much influence these sites to get ahead of a second round, but it will become dirty, " she says.

the political scientist Viera Zuborova. Photo: Allis Nettréus

Himself says Zuzana Caputova that she knew when she gave into the game that she would be attacked.

" But I am surprised at the pure hate, often from people who do not know me.

to Caputovas high numbers in the polls are exaggerated. She would get over 50 per cent in the first round of the elections is considered to be very unlikely. At the same time expecting all of that she gets the most votes.

A second round, where she is pitted against either the establishment Sefcovic, or populisten Harabin, threatens to be marked by mudslinging and personal attacks.

at the same time, it will be an exciting confrontation – a measure of how people react to populism and authoritarianism in a small central european country. Caputova yourself talk about ”choices”.

The first thing she will do if she becomes president will be to travel to brodernationen the Czech republic. In that case, she'll meet a colleague who is her opposite: Milos Zeman, the president, who is seen as ”Moscow's trojan horse in Europe”.

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