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CAPTION CORRECTS THE LOCATION – Presidential candidate Zuzana Caputova with her daughter Emma prepares to cast her vote at a polling station during the first round of the presidential election in Pezinok, Slovakia, Saturday, March 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
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Presidential candidate Zuzana Caputova answers questions to media as she arrives at her election headquarters to watch the results of the first round of the presidential election in Bratislava, Slovakia, Saturday, March 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – Voting has ended in the first round of Slovakia's presidential election, and early results show the favorite candidates in a lead.
The Slovak statistics Office says that Zuzana Caputova has 38.87 percent of the vote with ballots from over 30 percent of polling stations counted on Saturday. The 45-year-old environmental and anti-corruption activist is in favor of gay rights and opposes a ban on abortion in the conservative Roman Catholic country.
Her strongest challenger Maros Sefcovic, an establishment figure who is the European Commission Vice-President, was running distant second with 18.83 percent. A pro-Russian candidate Stefan Harabin was third with 14.64 percent.
Andrej Kiska, a successful businessman-turned-philanthropist, is not standing for a second five-year term in the largely ceremonial post.
If no single candidate wins a majority on Saturday, a runoff will be held on March 30 in this central European nation of 5.4 million people.
Final results are expected Sunday.