Pellegrini Calls for Embarking on Path towards United Slovakia

Pellegrini Calls for Embarking on Path towards United Slovakia
President-elect Peter Pellegrini (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, April 10 (TASR) - President-elect Peter Pellegrini has called for a step towards the path of a united Slovakia, adding that political fervour and the division of society have grown dangerously following the recent presidential election.

"We're living in challenging times that we can only cope with as one cohesive community. I understand that this is an immense challenge and the road to a united Slovakia will be really difficult. However, it's all the more important that we embark on this path together as soon as possible," he stressed. At the same time, he expressed his regret over the fact that political fervour and the division of society are interfering with the coexistence of families, friends and colleagues.

According to Pellegrini, the test of democracy doesn't only lie in whether a country can organise free and democratic elections. "The test of democracy also depends on whether we are able to accept a decision of the majority, to accept that the decision might be different from our personal choice and to respect it not out of respect for the victorious political party or candidate, but out of respect for our fellow citizens and democracy," he noted.

The president-elect remarked that he regrets public displays of hatred, not towards him as the winner of the election, but towards people who supported him. "I regret that they're being subjected to increasingly harsh personal and political attacks as well as attacks by the media. I strongly implore them not to respond with the same kind of hatred, because it's a fire that is very easy to kindle, but almost impossible to extinguish," he added.

The frustration of those who wished for a different election result, he said, is understandable. "But I can't imagine that in other developed countries, respected media would write after an election that the public has lost its mind, that the values of democracy and patriotism have lost, and that there is no need to be surprised by people who want to leave the country," remarked Pellegrini.

The president-elect at the same time noted that he also fails to understand political calls for civil resistance, putting on boxing gloves and a massive exodus from Slovakia. "And I really resent public displays of collective hatred against entire social groups, such as the elderly. This is not only unacceptable, but also extremely dangerous," he stressed.

Pellegrini declared that he fully respects that everyone has the right to his or her political opinion and the right to express it. "But in a manner that doesn't hinder the expression of another opinion and that doesn't denigrate the bearer of that opinion," he said, adding that he believes that the values of peace, reconciliation and cohesion are universal values that appeal to people in Slovakia across the whole political spectrum.