BRATISLAVA, March 29 (Xinhua) -- The second round of Slovakia's presidential election kicked off at 7:00 a.m. (0600 GMT) on Saturday, with voters choosing their new president from incumbent Prime Minister Robert Fico and philanthropist, businessman and political newcomer Andrej Kiska.
Slovakians can use one of the 5,958 polling stations around the country, to cast their vote for their preferred candidates.
Slovakia has 4.6 million eligible voters, out of which 43.4 percent has turned out to vote on the first round on March 15, where Kiska and Fico advanced to the next round, as none of the 14 candidates had more than 50 percent of the votes. Fico was the overall winner with 28 percent of the vote, having a 4 percent lead on Kiska.
Local news agency TASR reported that, compare to the first round two weeks ago, the run-off on Saturday attracted more voters.
Local electoral commissions in several boroughs of Bratislava confirmed that the turnout has been higher, with spokesman of the borough of Nove Mesto (New City) Marek Tettinger talking about a possible record-breaking turnout. "People have to wait in queues. It appears that we may achieve the highest turnout in recent years," Tettinger added.
Central Election Commission (CEC) has not received any complaints from today, but the police was notified about irregularities in areas with high Roma population. Freedom and Solidarity Party Members of Parliament have already alerted local authorities of the situation, as they have investigated personally into the matter.
According to the Slovak Statistics Office head Ludmila Benkovicova, the first unofficial results of the second round could be known on websites www.volbysr.sk and www.statistics.sk around 10:30 p.m. but official results will not be released until Sunday morning.
Daniel, a commissioner in a polling station in Bratislava stated, "As this is the second round and we have only two candidates, I would say 30 to 45 minutes." After the initial results, the candidates usually hold a press conference, to inform the public about their further steps.
The winner of the presidential election will take over the office on June 15, when the tenure of incumbent President Ivan Gasparovic is due to expire.
Any citizen of the Slovak Republic who has the right to vote and is at least 40 years old on the day of the vote can stand as a candidate in presidential elections. The term of office lasts five years, and the same person can only be re-elected once, according to the Slovak Constitution,
To have the right to cast a vote, citizens must be at least 18 years old on the day of the vote and must vote within Slovakia, as it isn't possible to participate in presidential elections abroad.
This will be the fourth direct presidential election in Slovakia's history. The first ever head of state, Michal Kovac, was voted in by Parliament in 1993. Five years later, Rudolf Schuster was chosen by the public as his replacement. Incumbent President Gasparovic won the following election in 2004 and was re-elected in 2009.