When out of the blue a little-known millionaire businessman with no political past is elected president of his country, what does this tell you about the quality of that country’s democracy and about the trust of citizens in their established political classes?

These questions are raised by the remarkable victory on Sunday in Slovakia’s presidential election of Andrej Kiska, 51, who will serve a five-year term as head of state after trouncing Robert Fico, prime minister, by a margin of almost 60 to 40 per cent. Read more


Welcome to our continuing coverage of the eurozone crisis. All times are London time. This post should update every few minutes, but it may take longer on mobile devices. By John Aglionby and David Crouch on the world news desk in London, with contributions from FT correspondents around the world.

José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, has set out his bank recapitalisation plans, while the temperature is rising for Silvio Berlusconi after he lost a parliamentary vote last night, and Slovakian politicians are plotting their next moves after blocking the expanded eurozone rescue fund. Read more

Slovakian PM Radicova listens to the leader of the Freedom and Solidarity Party Sulik. Credit: Petr Josek/Reuters Welcome to our continuing coverage of the eurozone crisis. All times are London time. By Esther Bintliff and John Aglionby on the world news desk in London, with contributions from FT correspondents around the world.

Today’s main events are in Greece – where the troika published a long-anticipated statement, and in Bratislava, where the Slovakian parliament is voting on whether to back the expanded eurozone rescue fund, the EFSF.

21.38: As we close up for the day, a markets update. The S&P 500 closed flat at 1,195.54 as investors remained cautious after the delay in the vote to expand the rescue package. The euro surrendered all gains and changed little against the dollar at $1.3642. That’s all from us.

21.30: Here is the latest FT story and Alphaville blog post.

21.20: Slovakia’s government has lost a confidence vote on a plan to bolster the EFSF rescue fund, toppling the government. But it is expected that the package will go through in a later vote with help from the opposition. Smer, the largest opposition party, said it would support the changes in a second vote. A total of 55 lawmakers of the 124 present backed the motion, falling short of the required majority of 76.

19.30: We’re going to take a little break on the blog now – but we’ll be sure to update you when (if?) the Slovak deputies vote. In the meantime, thanks for reading, and for all your comments! You can follow our coverage at and of course on twitter, @ftworldnews

19.20: European authorities plan to set a higher-than-expected capital threshold for the region’s banks and give them six to nine months to achieve that level or face government recapitalisations under the auspices of the eurozone’s €440bn rescue fund, senior regulators have told the FT. Patrick Jenkins in London, Ralph Atkins in Frankfurt and Peter Spiegel in Brussels report:

The European Banking Authority’s board of supervisors has approved in principle the idea that banks should be made to raise their core tier one capital ratios – the key measure of financial strength – to 9 per cent, well beyond the current expections of banks and analysts, even after absorbing writedowns on the value of their sovereign debt holdings.

Officials cautioned, however, that the 9 per cent threshold – which could see dozens of banks forced to raise a combined €275bn, according to Morgan Stanley estimates – is still being debated in national capitals and in Brussels.

Some senior officials at the European Commission, which is due to unveil its own plan for bank recapitalisations, support the higher levels and could announce their backing as early as on Wednesday.

Full story.

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