Fico: No Reason to Hold Smer Vice-chairs Accountable for Regional Elections

Prime Minister Robert Fico defending his party's score in the November 4 regional elections. (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava, November 10 (TASR) – Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) would like to have seen his party with more governors and regional councillors following the elections last week, but he noted the result was due to the majority electoral system and hardly anything could be done about it.

At the same time Fico stressed that Smer-SD remains the decisive political force in Slovakia even after the regional elections.

Fico, who before didn’t make any comments on the November 4 vote, said that he took an intentional break in order to observe the atmosphere.

“I felt as if the country was amid a civil war. Many editorial desks, by their interpretation of the election results, resembled the headquarters of opposition parties,” said Fico, adding that while Slovakia is one of the world’s most liberal countries in terms of press freedom, the Slovak media largely don’t know how to deal with their liberty.

Concerning possible personnel changes in Smer, Fico said that this will be debated at the party congress in Martin (Zilina region) in December. “However, I don’t have any reason to hold any party vice-chair accountable,” said Fico.

The prime minister pointed out that Smer has got 88 regional councillors, which is the highest number from among all parties.

“So, I’d like to know what fiasco it is, if a party gets the highest number of councillors. Of course, I’d like to have seen more, but trends concerning the advent of independent candidates are strong,” said Fico, who went on to point out that Opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) has only 3.6 percent of councillors, while OLaNO has got some 5 percent.

Instead of conceding defeat in the recent regional elections, in which only one Smer-SD member was elected governor (Jaroslav Baska in Trencin region), Fico has attempted to cover up the debacle by pointing to the number of Smer councillors elected throughout the country, Opposition OLaNO MP Veronika Remisova said on later in the day.

“It needs to be noted that regional councils have an entirely different position than the national parliament. Real executive powers are in the hands of the governors, as governors are directly elected by the public, in contrast to national government members, who are called to account by Parliament,” said Remisova, adding that the regional elections have indicated that Smer’s reign overall has begun to crumble.