Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Zuzana Čaputová

Zuzana Čaputová just won Slovakia's presidential election. (Photo: Zuzana Čaputová campaign)

"Erin Brockovich of Slovakia" Elected Nation's First Female President

Win by anti-corruption campaigner and lawyer seen as win for pro-European Union forces

Andrea Germanos

Voters in Slovakia elected activist Zuzana Čaputová their first female president over the weekend, delivering a rebuke to right-wing nationalism.

Politico framed Čaputová's win as "cause for celebration for pro-EU and democratic forces throughout Central and Eastern Europe, as well as in Brussels."

The 45-year-old lawyer and political novice secured 58 percent of the vote in Saturday's runoff election, easily beating European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, who nabbed just 42 percent of the vote.

Šefčovič was backed by the ruling Smer-SD party. Čaputová is part of the newly-formed Progressive Slovakia, and her platform calls for justice for all, dignity for the elderly, and environmental protection.

Čaputová's lengthy and successful campaign against a toxic waste dump in her home town of Pezinok earned her the moniker the "Erin Brokovich of Slovakia" as well as the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2016

Applauding her electoral victory, the prize committee wrote on Twitter, "We cannot imagine a stronger advocate for the Slovak people and environment."

Her activism has continued since the Goldman award. More recently, she's taken to the streets as part of the wave of protests against the 2018 murders of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová.

Kuciak, as Agence France-Presse reported,

had been preparing to publish a story on alleged ties between Slovak politicians and the Italian mafia.

The killings forced then prime minister Robert Fico to resign but he remains leader of the populist-left Smer-SD and is a close ally of the current premier.

Five people have been charged, including a millionaire businessman with alleged Smer-SD ties who is suspected of ordering the murders.

The anti-corruption campaigner also made a stance in her victory speech not only in the words she delivered but her language choice.

She said "decency in politics" can be "our strength," and she called for people to seek "what unites us."

Reuters also reported that

Čaputová started her acceptance speech by thanking voters in Slovak, as well as in the Hungarian, Czech, Roma, and Ruthenian languages, turning to all main minority groups.

"This was an absolute first in Slovak politics," wrote DW's Keno Verseck.

"With her election to the presidency, Čaputová has become the most prominent representative of progressive politics in the region," he added, and argued that her win "sends a clear signal that the vast majority of Slovaks want fundamental change."

While the president wields limited power in the country—he or she is able to "pick the prime minister, appoint Constitutional Court judges, and veto laws," as CBS noted—Verseck suggested that "Čaputová's voice will carry a great deal of weight in Slovakia."

"If this new president succeeds in implementing even some of her political and social plans," he said, "we should not underestimate the signal that would send to the region as a whole."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·


Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·


'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·


'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo