BRATISLAVA: Slovakia's President Andrej Kiska said on Tuesday he would not seek a second term in a presidential election in 2019 to open room for a candidate not burdened by a political conflict that has deeply split the small central European country.
Kiska pressured veteran Prime Minister Robert Fico to resign following the murder in February of an investigative journalist who had been covering high-level corruption.
"I became involved in political conflicts that I saw as important in forming the spirit of our country... Some of my decisions left negative emotions in part of the society," Kiska told reporters.
"It will be better if people chose a president who will not carry the burden of conflicts I've been carrying," he said.
A former buisnessman and philanthropist with no prior political experience, Kiska has been a staunchly pro-western voice in Slovak politics and has often clashed with Fico's Smer party, which has ruled the euro zone member state for most of the past decade.
Kiska beat Fico in the 2014 presidential election.
The president has less day-to-day executive power than the prime minister under the Slovak constitution but the post carries political weight with the public.
(Reporting by Tatiana Jancarikova; Editing by Gareth Jones)