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Zuzana Čaputová

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Zuzana Čaputová
Zuzana Čaputová (20.6.2019)VII.jpg
5th President of Slovakia
Assumed office
15 June 2019
Prime MinisterPeter Pellegrini
Preceded byAndrej Kiska
Deputy Chair of Progressive Slovakia
In office
15 March 2018 – 19 March 2019
LeaderMichal Truban [sk]
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byVacant
Personal details
Born
Zuzana Strapáková

(1973-06-21) 21 June 1973 (age 46)
Bratislava, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia)
Political partyProgressive Slovakia (2017–2019)
Independent (2019–present)
Spouse(s)Ivan Čaputa (divorced)
Domestic partnerPeter Konečný
Children2
EducationComenius University

Zuzana Čaputová (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈzuzana ˈtʃaputɔʋaː]; née Strapáková; born 21 June 1973) is a Slovak politician, lawyer, and activist who has been President of Slovakia since 15 June 2019. Čaputová is the first woman to hold the presidency, as well as the youngest president in the history of Slovakia, at the age of 45.[1]

She first became known by prevailing in a decade-long struggle against the situating of a toxic landfill in her hometown of Pezinok. For this, Čaputová was awarded the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize.

Čaputová won the 2019 election for president with 58% of the vote in the run-off. "We’ll try to have a constructive relationship with neighbouring countries but at the same time have clear stances and positions based on values," she told an interviewer.[2]

Early life and education

Zuzana Strapáková was born into a working-class family[3] in Bratislava.[4] She grew up in the nearby town of Pezinok,[4] in what was Czechoslovakia for the first two decades of her life. She has described her upbringing as having occurred within "an open-minded house".[3]

She studied at the Comenius University Faculty of Law in Bratislava,[4] graduating in 1996.[5] Between 1998 and 1999 she completed the training cycle "General Management – Management of Change" and in 1999 the ARK – Mediation course, accredited by the Ministry of Education of Slovakia.[6]

Early career

After concluding her education, Čaputová worked in the local government of Pezinok, first as an assistant in the legal department, and later as a deputy to the town mayor.[7]

She later moved into the non-profit sector at the Open Society Foundations, where she handled public administration and the issue of abused and exploited children.[8] Subsequently, she worked as a project manager at the civic association EQ Klub on local community development.[9]

Between 2001 and 2017, Čaputová worked with Via Iuris, a civic organization, as a lawyer (since 2010),[7] and with Greenpeace on campaign planning.[10] In Pezinok, for more than ten years, she was at the forefront of a public campaign against the authorization of another landfill that would aggravate pollution of the soil, air, and water in the city and its surrounding areas. The fight against the landfill culminated in 2013, when the Supreme Court of Slovakia [sk] ruled that the new landfill was illegal and violated environmental norms.[11]

Čaputová has run her own law firm and authored and co-authored several publications. She is a fellow of the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW), a network of environmental lawyers and jurists.[12]

Political activities

Čaputová speaking to reporters, 2019

In December 2017, 'Čaputová announced her entry into the emerging political party Progressive Slovakia, and in January 2018, she was elected as a Vice-Chairwoman at the party's first congress, aiding Ivan Štefunko [sk]'s efforts to assure the representation of a credible socially-liberal alternative to the conservative status quo in Slovakia.[citation needed]

As a co-founding member[13] of Progressive Slovakia, a non-parliamentary socially liberal and progressive party, she served as its Deputy Chair until March 2019, when she resigned due to her presidential candidacy.[14] Čaputová was the party's candidate in the 2019 Slovak presidential election[15] and proceeded to be elected president in the second round, after receiving over 58% of the vote and beating her opponent Vice President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič, an independent who was supported by the long-dominant Smer–SD party.[16]

Presidency

Čaputová and Robert Mistrík, initially a front-runner who withdrew from the race and endorsed her.

In a press conference held on 29 March 2018, Čaputová announced her bid for the Slovak presidency in the 2019 presidential race, having been endorsed by Progressive Slovakia along with SaS and SPOLU, after her main opponent, Robert Mistrík, withdrew from the race and endorsed her on 26 February 2019.[17] Čaputová said she had felt impelled to run for presidency after the murder of the investigative journalist Ján Kuciak.[18][19][20]

Čaputová won the first round of the election on 16 March 2019, with 40.57% of the vote. She then defeated her second-place opponent, Maroš Šefčovič, by around 58% to 42% in the second run-off round on 30 March 2019.[21] The second-round turnout of just 41.79% was the lowest for any round of voting in that type of election in Slovakia. The number of votes with which Čaputová was elected to office was also the lowest for any directly elected Slovakian president to date.[22] Her presidential inauguration took place on 15 June 2019 during a special session of the National Council in Bratislava. [23]

Political positions

Equality

On her campaign website, Čaputová says that "justice in Slovakia does not always apply equally to everyone". In keeping with her statements during the campaign, she plans to introduce changes to Slovakia's police and judicial system. She campaigned for the police force to be an independent institution without political influence, headed by an impartial professional with proven service. She further claims that it is necessary to transform the prosecutor's office into a publicly managed institution.[24]

Environment

Čaputová holds that environmental protection should include stopping illegal deforestation and that 5% of the most environmentally valuable territory should remain as a strictly protected zone.[24]

LGBT rights

Čaputová has stated that she supports registered partnerships for same-sex couples, and educating the general public on these relationships. In a discussion organized by SME Journal, she lectured on the possibility of adoption by gay couples: "I prefer the child to have a biological mother and a biological father. If he were to grow up in institutional care, I think he'd be better off with two loving beings, even if they were of the same sex".[25]

Abortion and reproductive rights

Čaputová supports maintaining the status quo regarding abortion and reproductive rights: "If there is an extreme situation and the dilemma is between deciding whether to adopt a legal norm that will intrude upon the personal lives of citizens or leave it to women's responsibility and their personal choice, I choose the responsibility of a woman".[26]

Personal life

Čaputová is divorced and has two daughters.[1] She practices Zen yoga.[3] She still lives in Pezinok.[1]

Awards

Čaputová (third from the right) with the other 2016 winners of the Goldman Prize, along with then U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

For her strong and resolute leadership regarding the Pezinok landfill affair, Čaputová was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2016.[27] Laureates of this prize are selected by an international jury and experts from around the world who have distinguished themselves for having a lasting and significant impact on environmental protection. The Goldman award was delivered to Čaputová in San Francisco. Her long and eventually triumphant struggle has been compared to that of the American Erin Brockovich.[15] The text of the prize states that she was awarded for her "relentless campaigning against the opening of a landfill in the town of Pezinok, which, if opened, would further aggravate potential health hazards and would contribute to urban pollution".[28]

Honours

National honours

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Santora, Marc; Germanova, Miroslava (30 March 2019). "Zuzana Caputova Is Elected Slovakia's First Female President". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Zuzana Čaputová, the spiritual liberal who beat Slovakia's populists". Guardian. 13 April 2019. Retrieved 13 April 2019. The country’s first female president says she won’t compromise on progressive values in her search for pragmatic solutions
  3. ^ a b c Kalan, Dariusz (28 March 2019). "Can Zuzana Caputova Save Slovakia?". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Juhasz, Laszlo (29 March 2019). "Outsider Caputova wins Slovak presidency". AFP. Retrieved 31 March 2019 – via Yahoo! News.
  5. ^ Fabok, Martin. "Profile of Presidential Candidate Zuzana Caputova – News Now".
  6. ^ "Profile" (PDF). Zuzana Čaputová. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Profile of Zuzana Caputova". TASR. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Elections in Slovakia: What Zuzana Čaputová's victory means for Ukraine?". 112 UA. 30 March 2019. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Profil prezidentskej kandidátky Zuzany Čaputovej". Teraz.sk. Bratislava: TASR. 1 February 2019. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Q&A with Zuzana Čaputová". Goldman Environmental Foundation. 9 November 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  11. ^ "From attorney and activist to president of Slovakia. Who is Zuzana Čaputová?". Spectator.sme.sk. The Slovak Spectator. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  12. ^ "Goldman Prize Winner Zuzana Caputova is Newest ELAW Fellow". Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  13. ^ a.s, Petit Press. "Progresívne Slovensko neprekvapilo, povedie ho Štefunko. Trúfa si na 15 percent". Domov.sme.sk. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  14. ^ a.s, Petit Press. "Čaputová sa vzdala funkcie podpredsedníčky Progresívneho Slovenska". domov.sme.sk (in Slovak). Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  15. ^ a b Santora, Marc (15 March 2019). "In Slovakia, Unlikely Presidential Candidate Signals a Backlash Against Populism". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  16. ^ Santora, Marc and Miroslava Germanova (30 March 2019). "Zuzana Caputova Is Elected Slovakia's First Female President". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  17. ^ Patricolo, Claudia (27 February 2019). "Robert Mistrík pulls out of Slovak presidential race, backs Zuzana Čaputová". Emerging Europe. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  18. ^ a.s, Petit Press (31 March 2019). "Čaputová framed the election "as a struggle between good and evil"". spectator.sme.sk.
  19. ^ "Slovakia's first female president hails victory for progressive values". 31 March 2019 – via www.theguardian.com.
  20. ^ "Humanist lawyer becomes Slovakia's first female president". Emerging Europe. 31 March 2019.
  21. ^ "Zuzana Caputova becomes Slovakia's first female president". BBC News. 31 March 2019. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  22. ^ Terenzani, Michaela (31 March 2019). "Čaputová won on a record low turnout". spectator.sme.sk. The Spectator. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  23. ^ "Zuzana Caputova inaugurated as 1st Slovak female president". foxnews.com. Associated Press. 15 June 2019.
  24. ^ a b "Volebný program". zuzanacaputova.sk. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  25. ^ a.s, Petit Press. "Čaputová sa nevzdá v prospech Mistríka len preto, ak by mal vyššie preferencie". domov.sme.sk (in Slovak). Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  26. ^ a.s., Denník N (17 February 2019). "Zuzana Čaputová – pre kresťana neprípustný kandidát? Analýza". dennikn.sk. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  27. ^ "Zuzana Čaputová". Goldman Environmental Foundation. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  28. ^ ""Nobelovku" za životné prostredie dostala Slovenka. Za skládku v Pezinku". Aktuality.sk. Retrieved 26 February 2019.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Andrej Kiska
President of Slovakia
2019–present
Incumbent