Zuzana Čaputová, born on June 21, 1973, is not your ordinary politician. She is a Slovak lawyer, environmental activist, and the current President of Slovakia. Her remarkable journey to the presidency is characterised by a commitment to justice, environmental protection, and progressive values.
Čaputová hails from Bratislava, Slovakia, and her upbringing in the nearby town of Pezinok was marked by open-mindedness. She studied law at Comenius University Faculty of Law in Bratislava, where she graduated in 1996. In her pursuit of knowledge, she also completed various training programs, including "General Management – Management of Change" and the ARK – Mediation course, accredited by the Ministry of Education of Slovakia.
After completing her education, Čaputová began her career in the local government of Pezinok. She worked her way up from being an assistant in the legal department to serving as a deputy to the town mayor. Her dedication to public service and justice led her to the non-profit sector, where she focused on issues concerning abused and exploited children while working at the Open Society Foundations. She also contributed to local community development as a project manager at the civic association EQ Klub.
From 2001 to 2017, Čaputová worked as a lawyer for Via Iuris, a civic organisation, and participated in campaign planning with Greenpeace. Notably, she played a pivotal role in a decade-long campaign against a proposed toxic landfill in Pezinok, which earned her the prestigious 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize. Her relentless efforts led to the landfill being declared illegal by the Supreme Court of Slovakia.
In 2017, Čaputová entered the political arena, becoming a founding member of the socially liberal Progressive Slovakia party. She served as the party's Deputy Chair until March 2019, when she resigned to pursue her presidential candidacy.
In the 2019 Slovak presidential election, Čaputová ran as the Progressive Slovakia candidate and won in the run-off with over 58% of the vote, defeating her opponent, Maroš Šefčovič. She officially assumed the presidency on June 15, 2019, during a special session of the National Council in Bratislava.
During her presidency, Čaputová consistently earned the trust of the Slovak people, being rated as the most trusted politician in the country in 2020 and 2021. Her leadership in Slovakia also garnered international attention and respect.
On the international stage, Čaputová is renowned for her dedication to environmental protection, with a focus on climate change mitigation. She pledged to end subsidies for coal and other fossil fuels and aimed to phase out coal mining and power generation by 2023. Her commitment led Slovakia to join the Powering Past Coal Alliance.
Čaputová is divorced and has two daughters. She practices Zen yoga and continued to reside in Pezinok during her presidency.
Her relentless efforts against environmental hazards earned her the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2016. Additionally, in 2019, she received the European Prize for Political Culture in recognition of her contributions to European democracy.
Zuzana Čaputová's presidency symbolises the power of environmental activism, justice, and progressiveness in modern politics. Her legacy will be remembered as a turning point in Slovakia's political landscape.