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updated: 3/29/2014 10:53 AM

Slovakians vote for a new president in runoff

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  • Slovak Prime Minister and presidential candidate Robert Fico speaks to journalists after casting his ballot in the second round of the presidential elections in Velke Dvorany, West Slovakia, Saturday, March 29.

      Slovak Prime Minister and presidential candidate Robert Fico speaks to journalists after casting his ballot in the second round of the presidential elections in Velke Dvorany, West Slovakia, Saturday, March 29.
    Associated Press

  • Presidential candidate, businessman and philanthropist Andrej Kiska, center, speaks to journalists as his father Andrej Kiska Sr. and his daughter Natalie Kiskova look on after casting their ballots in the second round of the presidential elections in Poprad, Slovakia, Saturday, March 29.

      Presidential candidate, businessman and philanthropist Andrej Kiska, center, speaks to journalists as his father Andrej Kiska Sr. and his daughter Natalie Kiskova look on after casting their ballots in the second round of the presidential elections in Poprad, Slovakia, Saturday, March 29.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia -- Slovakians are casting ballots in a presidential runoff that pits the country's popular prime minister against a businessman-turned-philanthropist.

Prime Minister Robert Fico and Andrej Kiska made it into the runoff after leading the first round on March 15.

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The 49-year-old Fico heads Slovakia's dominant leftist SMER-Social Democracy party, which he led to a landslide victory in 2012 that allowed the party to govern alone in this central European nation.

A victory Saturday, March 29, for Fico would cement his power, something his 51-year-old challenger -- a political newcomer -- wants to prevent. Kiska wants to fight corruption and make the government more efficient.

A corruption scandal in 2011 involving privatization deals has left many Slovakians disenchanted with politicians.

Fico was favored in the first round, but there have been no runoff polls.

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