Zuzana Čaputová

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Zuzana Čaputová
Čaputová in 2022
5th President of Slovakia
Assumed office
15 June 2019
Prime MinisterPeter Pellegrini
Igor Matovič
Eduard Heger
Ľudovít Ódor
Robert Fico
Preceded byAndrej Kiska
Deputy Leader of Progressive Slovakia
In office
20 January 2018 – 19 March 2019
LeaderIvan Štefunko
Personal details
Zuzana Strapáková

(1973-06-21) 21 June 1973 (age 50)
Bratislava, Czechoslovakia
Political partyPS (2017–2019)
Independent (2019–present)
Ivan Čaputa
Domestic partnerJuraj Rizman[1]
Children2 daughters
Alma materComenius University (Mgr.)

Zuzana Čaputová (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈzuzana ˈtʂaputɔʋaː]; née Strapáková; born 21 June 1973) is a Slovak politician, lawyer and environmental activist. She is the fifth president of Slovakia, a position she has held since 15 June 2019. Čaputová is the first woman to hold the presidency, as well as the youngest president in the history of Slovakia, elected at the age of 45.[2]

Čaputová first became known by prevailing in a decade-long struggle against the situating of a toxic landfill in her hometown of Pezinok. For this, Čaputová was awarded the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize. She won the 2019 Slovak presidential election with 58% of the vote in the run-off.

Early life and education[edit]

Zuzana Čaputová was born into a working-class family in Bratislava.[3][4] She grew up in the nearby town of Pezinok,[4] in what was Czechoslovakia for the first two decades of her life. She has described her upbringing as having occurred within "an open-minded house".[3]

She studied at the Comenius University Faculty of Law in Bratislava,[4] graduating in 1996.[5] Between 1998 and 1999 she completed the training cycle "General Management – Management of Change" and in 1999 the ARK – Mediation course, accredited by the Ministry of Education of Slovakia.[6]

Early career[edit]

After concluding her education, Čaputová worked in the local government of Pezinok, first as an assistant in the legal department, and later as a deputy to the town mayor.[7]

She later moved into the non-profit sector at the Open Society Foundations, where she handled public administration and the issue of abused and exploited children. Subsequently, she worked as a project manager at the civic association EQ Klub on local community development.[8]

Between 2001 and 2017, Čaputová worked with Via Iuris, a civic organization, as a lawyer (since 2010),[7] and with Greenpeace on campaign planning.[9] In Pezinok, for more than ten years, she was at the forefront of a public campaign against the authorization of another landfill that would aggravate pollution of the soil, air, and water in the city and its surrounding areas. The fight against the landfill culminated in 2013, when the Supreme Court of Slovakia ruled that the new landfill was illegal and violated environmental norms.[10]

Čaputová has run her own law firm and authored and co-authored several publications. She is a fellow of the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW), a network of environmental lawyers and jurists.[11]

Political activities[edit]

Čaputová speaking to reporters, 2019

As a co-founding member[12] of Progressive Slovakia, a non-parliamentary socially liberal and progressive party, she served as its Deputy Chair until March 2019, when she resigned due to her presidential candidacy.[13] Čaputová was the party's candidate in the 2019 Slovak presidential election[14] and proceeded to be elected president in the second round, after receiving over 58% of the vote and beating her opponent Vice President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič, an independent who was supported by the long-dominant Smer–SD party.[15]


Čaputová and Robert Mistrík, initially a front-runner who withdrew from the race and endorsed her.

In a press conference held on 29 March 2018, Čaputová announced her bid for the Slovak presidency in the 2019 presidential race as the candidate of Progressive Slovakia. Robert Mistrík, another strong contender, withdrew from the race and endorsed her on 26 February 2019.[16] She said she had felt compelled to run for the Presidency after the murder of the investigative journalist Ján Kuciak.[17][18][19]

Čaputová with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in Kyiv in 31 May 2022

Čaputová won the first round of the election on 16 March 2019, with 40.57% of the vote. She then defeated her second-place opponent, Maroš Šefčovič, by around 58% to 42% in the second run-off round on 30 March 2019.[20] The second-round turnout of just 41.79% was the lowest for any round of voting in that type of election in Slovakia. The number of votes with which Čaputová was elected to office was also the lowest for any directly elected Slovak president to date.[21] Her presidential inauguration took place on 15 June 2019 during a special session of the National Council in Bratislava.[22]

She was rated as the most trusted politician in the country in both 2020[23] and 2021,[24] with 83% and 58% of citizens polled saying they saw her as trustworthy, respectively. A December 2019 poll in the neighboring Czech Republic showed that she had a higher approval rating there (54% approval, 18% disapproval) than incumbent President Miloš Zeman (46% approval, 50% disapproval).[25]

Čaputová with Israeli President Isaac Herzog in Bratislava on 4 September 2023

A poll in late May 2022 reported that 15% of voters would "certainly" vote for her, with additional 34% considering a vote for her in the next presidential election, which is scheduled for April 2024.[26]

In 2023, Čaputová was mentioned as a possible candidate to replace NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg following his expected retirement that same year.[27]

On 20 June 2023, Čaputová announced that she would not run for re-election, citing the stress created by four major crises during her term: the coronavirus pandemic, Russia's war in Ukraine, the energy crisis and soaring inflation.[28] Her decision was commented on by Czech President Petr Pavel with regret and her predecessor Andrej Kiska with sadness. Similiar positions were expressed by centre-right and former coalition parties. Opposition headed by SMER-SSD, HLAS-SD and SNS welcomed her decision.[29]

Political positions[edit]

Čaputová speaks to the European Parliament in 2022


On her campaign website, Čaputová says that "justice in Slovakia does not always apply equally to everyone". In keeping with her statements during the campaign, she plans to introduce changes to Slovakia's police and judicial system. She campaigned for the police force to be an independent institution without political influence, headed by an impartial professional with proven service. She further claims that it is necessary to transform the prosecutor's office into a publicly managed institution.[30]


Čaputová is an environmental campaigner who has been compared to American activist Erin Brockovich.[31][32] Climate change mitigation is one of her highest priorities, and for that reason she is ending subsidies for coal and other fossil fuels. Čaputová has promised to phase out coal mining and power generation by 2023, and brought her nation into the Powering Past Coal Alliance.[33]

Čaputová holds that environmental protection should include stopping illegal deforestation and that 5% of the most environmentally valuable territory should remain as a strictly protected zone.[30]

LGBT rights[edit]

Čaputová has stated that she supports registered partnerships for same-sex couples, and educating the general public on these relationships. In a discussion organized by SME, she lectured on the possibility of adoption by gay couples: "I prefer the child to have a biological mother and a biological father. If he were to grow up in institutional care, I think he'd be better off with two loving beings, even if they were of the same sex."[34]

Abortion and reproductive rights[edit]

Čaputová supports maintaining the status quo regarding abortion and reproductive rights, saying: "If there is an extreme situation and the dilemma is between deciding whether to adopt a legal norm that will intrude upon the personal lives of citizens or leave it to women's responsibility and their personal choice, I choose the responsibility of a woman."[35]

Personal life[edit]

Čaputová is divorced and has two daughters.[2] She practices Zen yoga.[3] She continued to reside in Pezinok during her presidency.[2]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Čaputová (third from the right) with the other 2016 winners of the Goldman Prize, along with U.S. politician Nancy Pelosi.

For her strong and resolute leadership regarding the Pezinok landfill affair, Čaputová was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2016.[36] Laureates of this prize are selected by an international jury and experts from around the world who have distinguished themselves for having a lasting and significant impact on environmental protection. The Goldman award was delivered to Čaputová in San Francisco. Her long and eventually triumphant struggle has been compared to that of the American Erin Brockovich.[14] The text of the prize states that she was awarded for her "relentless campaigning against the opening of a landfill in the town of Pezinok, which, if opened, would further aggravate potential health hazards and would contribute to urban pollution".[37] In recognition of her efforts for the European democracy, Čaputová was awarded the European Prize for Political Culture in August 2019.[38]

In 2020, she was ranked No. 83 in Forbes's list of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women.[39] In 2021, she was ranked at No. 86.[40]

Zuzana Čaputová was also recognized as one of the 100 Influential Women in Oncology by OncoDaily.[41]


National honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]

Nongovernmental organizations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Prezidentka Čaputová má nového partnera, svého bývalého poradce". novinky.cz. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Santora, Marc; Germanova, Miroslava (30 March 2019). "Zuzana Caputova Is Elected Slovakia's First Female President". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Kalan, Dariusz (28 March 2019). "Can Zuzana Caputova Save Slovakia?". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Juhasz, Laszlo (29 March 2019). "Outsider Caputova wins Slovak presidency". Agence France-Presse. Retrieved 31 March 2019 – via Yahoo! News.
  5. ^ Fabok, Martin (17 March 2019). "Profile of Presidential Candidate Zuzana Caputova – News Now".
  6. ^ "Profile" (PDF). Zuzana Čaputová. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 March 2019. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Profile of Zuzana Caputova". TASR. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Profil prezidentskej kandidátky Zuzany Čaputovej". Teraz.sk. Bratislava: TASR. 1 February 2019. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Q&A with Zuzana Čaputová". Goldman Environmental Foundation. 9 November 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  10. ^ "From attorney and activist to president of Slovakia. Who is Zuzana Čaputová?". Spectator.sme.sk. The Slovak Spectator. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  11. ^ "Goldman Prize Winner Zuzana Caputova is Newest ELAW Fellow". Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  12. ^ a.s, Petit Press. "Progresívne Slovensko neprekvapilo, povedie ho Štefunko. Trúfa si na 15 percent". Domov.sme.sk. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  13. ^ a.s, Petit Press. "Čaputová sa vzdala funkcie podpredsedníčky Progresívneho Slovenska". domov.sme.sk (in Slovak). Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  14. ^ a b Santora, Marc (15 March 2019). "In Slovakia, Unlikely Presidential Candidate Signals a Backlash Against Populism". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  15. ^ Santora, Marc and Miroslava Germanova (30 March 2019). "Zuzana Caputova Is Elected Slovakia's First Female President". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  16. ^ Patricolo, Claudia (27 February 2019). "Robert Mistrík pulls out of Slovak presidential race, backs Zuzana Čaputová". Emerging Europe. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  17. ^ a.s, Petit Press (31 March 2019). "Čaputová framed the election "as a struggle between good and evil"". spectator.sme.sk.
  18. ^ Walker, Shaun (31 March 2019). "Slovakia's first female president hails victory for progressive values". The Guardian.
  19. ^ "Humanist lawyer becomes Slovakia's first female president". Emerging Europe. 31 March 2019.
  20. ^ "Zuzana Caputova becomes Slovakia's first female president". BBC News. 31 March 2019. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  21. ^ Terenzani, Michaela (31 March 2019). "Čaputová won on a record low turnout". The Spectator. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  22. ^ "Zuzana Caputova inaugurated as 1st Slovak female president". Fox News. Associated Press. 15 June 2019.
  23. ^ "President Zuzana Caputova most trusted politician in Slovakia". Kafkadesk. 22 April 2020. Retrieved 4 November 2021.
  24. ^ "President Caputova most trusted politician in Slovakia, poll shows". Kafkadesk. 21 April 2021. Retrieved 4 November 2021.
  25. ^ "Slovakia's Caputova is Czech Republic's most trusted politician". Kafkadesk. 30 December 2019. Retrieved 4 November 2021.
  26. ^ "Focus: Čaputovú by po troch rokoch v úrade určite volilo 15 percent ľudí, ďalších 31 percent by to zvažovalo". Denník N (in Slovak). 28 July 2022. Retrieved 20 December 2022.
  27. ^ Bayer, Lily (30 January 2023). "NATO's new secretary-general, same as the old one?". Politico. Retrieved 11 April 2023.
  28. ^ "Slovakia's first female president won't seek reelection next year". Associated Press. 20 June 2023. Retrieved 20 June 2023.
  29. ^ "Reakcie na rozhodnutie prezidentky / Pavel vyjadril Čaputovej uznanie, Kiska cíti smútok a Smer ju kritizuje". Postoj.sk (in Slovak). Retrieved 29 June 2023.
  30. ^ a b "Volebný program". zuzanacaputova.sk. Archived from the original on 12 May 2019. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  31. ^ "Slovakian president-elect is a green campaigner who will fight coal subsidies". Climate Home News. 1 April 2019. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  32. ^ "Slovakian president-elect to fight coal subsidies". The Ecologist. 4 April 2019. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  33. ^ "Germany and Slovakia head list of new members at UN Climate Action Summit | Powering Past Coal Alliance". Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA). Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  34. ^ a.s, Petit Press. "Čaputová sa nevzdá v prospech Mistríka len preto, ak by mal vyššie preferencie". SME (in Slovak). Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  35. ^ a.s., Denník N (17 February 2019). "Zuzana Čaputová – pre kresťana neprípustný kandidát? Analýza". dennikn.sk. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  36. ^ "Zuzana Čaputová". Goldman Environmental Foundation. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  37. ^ ""Nobelovku" za životné prostredie dostala Slovenka. Za skládku v Pezinku". Aktuality.sk. 18 April 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  38. ^ "Slovak president awarded European Prize for Political Culture". Emerging Europe. 12 August 2019. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  39. ^ "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Archived from the original on 30 December 2020. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  40. ^ "Zuzana Caputova". Forbes. Archived from the original on 19 December 2021. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  41. ^ "Oncodaily.com".
  42. ^ Prezident
  43. ^ Servare et Manere. "Plaque". Tree of peace/Strom pokoja. Archived from the original on 9 April 2020. Retrieved 12 December 2019.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by President of Slovakia