20:27 GMT +322 October 2019
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    Slovakia's presidential candidate Zuzana Caputova talks to reporters

    Slovakia Set to See First Female President in Hotly-Contested Saturday Election

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    Zuzana Caputova, a lawyer and anti-corruption campaigner, is expected to win Slovakia’s presidential election on Saturday, after garnering 40.5 percent of the vote in the election’s first round two weeks ago, while the country’s ruling Smer-SD party candidate Maros Sefcovic received just 18.7 percent.

    If Caputova wins, she would become Slovakia's first female president. Throughout the campaign process, Caputova, 45, has promised to end what she refers to as the running of the country "by people pulling strings from behind." She is a member of the liberal Progressive Slovakia party, which currently has no seats in parliament, BBC reported. 

    "I don't take my victory as a given. I expect a narrower result than two weeks ago," Caputova said Saturday after casting her vote in Pezinok, a city in southwestern Slovakia, Reuters reported. On Saturday, voting stations opened at 7 a.m. local time and are expected to close at 10 p.m.

    The February 2018 assassination of Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiance, Martina Kušnírová, in their home in a small town in the southwest region of the country sparked massive anti-government protests in Slovakia. Kuciak's murder is widely believed to be linked to his investigative work. Before his death, the journalist investigated the activities of an Italian mafia organization in Slovakia and alleged links to local politicians and business leaders, Sputnik reported previously.

    Caputova has repeatedly referred to Kuciak's death as a reason she has run for office; a fight against corruption in the country. 

    "She [Caputova] knows what it is like to face injustice and she has always had the back of those who fought against the oligarchs," voter Zuzana Behrikova told Reuters.

    Journalist Kuciak specialized in tax fraud and money laundering investigations and had accused Slovakia's Smer-SD party of having links with shady businesses and the local mafia in Bratislava, Sputnik reported previously.

    Last year's rallies, described as the largest demonstrations in the country since the resignation of the communist leadership and the disintegration of then-Czechoslovakia in 1989, led to the resignation of former Slovakian Minister Robert Fico and his Smer cabinet. Although the Smer party is still in power, its popularity decreased following the double murder.

    Earlier this month. Slovakian authorities charged businessman Marian Kocner, a Slovak entrepreneur who was being investigated by Kuciak, with ordering the journalist's murder, Sputnik reported previously. Kocner has been in custody in the Slovakian city of Banská Bystrica since June 2018 over suspicions of fraud.

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