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June 28, 2017

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Slovak PM, philanthropist in race to become president

BRATISLAVA -- Prime Minister Robert Fico and millionaire-philanthropist Andrej Kiska will face off March 29 in round two of Slovakia's presidential election after topping Saturday's duel focused on a power grab by Fico's leftists.

Fico, a popular ex-communist, scored 28 percent of the vote in round one, narrowly ahead of political greenhorn Kiska who came out of nowhere to seize 24 percent, official election results said Sunday.

Both Fico and Kiska label themselves as euro-enthusiasts, so any outcome will likely seal Slovakia's pro-EU foreign policy.

The next president will be sworn in on June 15, when leftist President Ivan Gasparovic's second term ends.

Turnout Saturday was 43.4 percent, the election commission said.

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