Newcomer Andrej Kiska elected Slovak president

March 29, 2014 - 6:34 PM
Slovakia Presidential  Elections

Presidential candidate, businessman and philanthropist Andrej Kiska prepares to cast his ballot in the second round of the presidential elections in Poprad, Slovakia, Saturday, March 29, 2014. Kiska´s rival is Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico. (AP Photo,CTK/Alexander Supik) SLOVAKIA OUT

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Nearly complete results show that businessman-turned philanthropist Andrej Kiska has won the runoff race for the largely ceremonial post of Slovakia's president.

Kiska, a political newcomer, had nearly 59.6 percent of the vote, while Prime Minister Robert Fico trailed with 40.4 percent, according to results released Saturday night by the Statistics Office from 93 percent of almost 6,000 polling stations.

Fico has conceded the election and congratulated his challenger.

Fico and Kiska advanced to the runoff after leading the first round of voting on March 15.

The winner will succeed Ivan Gasparovic whose final term expires on June 15.

The Slovak presidency is largely ceremonial, but the president has the power to pick the prime minister, appoint Constitutional Court judges and veto laws. A parliamentary majority can override vetoes.