Illustrative photo – Election staff of the presidential candidate Petr Pavel, second round of the presidential elections, January 28, 2023, Prague. Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová came to congratulate Pavlo on his victory.
Bratislava/Prague – During his two-day visit to Slovakia next week, the new Czech President Petr Pavel will meet with top Slovak politicians, representatives of non-governmental organizations, and also honor the memory of the co-founders of Czechoslovakia, as well as the victim of homophobic murder and the shot journalist Ján Kuciak. This follows from the program of the visit, which was provided to ČTK by the Slovak presidential office and Pavlov's spokeswoman Markéta Řeháková. Pavel, who took office on Thursday, will follow the tradition of his predecessors that his first trip abroad as president will be to Slovakia.
Pavlo's visit to Slovakia will begin on Monday morning with a welcoming ceremony in the courtyard of the presidential palace in the center of Bratislava, where the president will then meet for negotiations with his Slovak colleague Zuzana Čaputová. The head of the Slovak state personally congratulated Pavlov in his election staff in Prague in January after the decisive round of the direct presidential election. After his inauguration, Čaputová said that she was glad that a person with the same values is at the head of the state closest to Slovakia.
After the joint meeting, the two presidents will honor the memory of the founders of Czechoslovakia, Tomáš Garrigu Masaryk and Milan Rastislav Štefánik, by laying wreaths at the monuments on the Danube embankment in Bratislava. In the early evening, Pavel and Čaputová will perform in the building of the Slovak National Theater for a public discussion.
On Monday afternoon, Pavel will also meet with Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger, whose minority government did not wait for a vote of no confidence in the lower house in December, and subsequently the cabinet remained in office with limited powers due to Čaputová's mandate. Earlier this week, Heger announced his departure from the strongest government movement Ordinary People and Independent Personalities and became the leader of the non-parliamentary party Democrats.
The Czech president, who will visit Slovakia with his wife Eva, will also lay flowers at a Bratislava gay bar, according to the program. Tepláreň (Teplárna), where an attacker shot two people dead last October and then, according to earlier information, committed suicide at another location in the Slovak capital. Pavel will also honor the memory of journalist Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kušnírová, who were shot dead in 2018. This double murder in the country five years ago resulted in massive demonstrations and a political crisis, in order to resolve which Robert Fico resigned as Prime Minister. According to the police, the motive for the murder was Kuciak's work as an investigative journalist.
On Tuesday, Pavel will meet with the Speaker of the Slovak Parliament Boris Kollár in the Czech House and, at the end of his visit to Slovakia, with young figures from non-governmental organizations.