With eloquent timing just a day after Prime Minister Robert Fico announced he would be running for President, a post offering a lifetime of privileges, his Smer-SD right man, parliamentary chairman Pavol Paska has set the date for the first round of the race for the presidential post for 15 March 2014.
The second, and decisive round, would then take place two weeks later on 29 March, unless someone scores an outright majority in the first round, not out of the realm of possibility for Fico given the massive support shown for the Smer-SD party recently in the regional elections.
There lies the real competition, as a recent poll showed Robert Fico would get around 37% of the vote in the first round, but lose outright to second place Andrej Kiska, founder of the Good Angel charity organisation, as he would accumulate the votes of his unsuccessful competitors from the first round. A survey is one thing, but it relies on the unlikely event that all the voters of failed candidates would be bothered to take part in the second round, something that the loyal supporters of the Smer-SD party are sure to do.
Incumbent president Ivan Gasparovic will hand over the mandate to the winner of the election before his own term of office expires on 15 June. There are a total of fifteen candidates for the post, but none of them has the support enjoyed at present by PM Fico.