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Political newcomer and anticorruption campaigner Zuzana Caputova appears set to become Slovakia’s first female president as the country goes to the polls for a runoff election.

Two opinion polls have indicated the 45-year-old lawyer and activist will receive about 60 percent of the ballots when Slovaks cast their votes on March 30 for the largely ceremonial position.

The pro-Europe Caputova won the first round of voting on March 17 with 40.6 percent, ahead of European Union Commissioner Maros Sefcovic with 18.7 percent.

The 52-year-old Sefcovic is backed by the ruling populist-leftist party Smer-SD, which is the largest party in parliament.

Caputova joined tens of thousands of antigovernment protesters in rallies last year after the murder of investigative reporter Jan Kuciak and his fiancee in February 2018.

The 27-year-olds were found shot dead at their home near the capital, Bratislava.

The journalist was investigating political corruption at the time of the slayings, which triggered the biggest street protests in Slovakia since the fall of communism in 1989 and a political crisis that led to the collapse of former Prime Minister Robert Fico’s government.

Fico was forced to resign but he remains the leader of the Smer-SD party and is a close ally of current Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini.

Incumbent President Andrej Kiska is not running for a second five-year term. Kiska backed Caputova.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, Reuters, and dpa


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