Fico: Substantial Change in Smer Leadership to Be Decided Next Week

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Smer-SD head Robert Fico (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, June 19 (TASR) – Smer-SD party head Robert Fico stated at a briefing held on Friday that the responsible Smer bodies will hold a session next week in order to decide on the party’s future, adding that there will be personnel changes and that he’s selected prospective candidates who could occupy posts in the party leadership.

“It will be a substantial change in leadership, I’m ready for a change in my post,” stated Fico, without saying clearly whether he’s willing to step down as party chair, however. What he did say was that he’s “not interested in fleeing in this situation”.

“I want to offer a new model of party management. It’s already been offered, but it hasn’t been accepted,” said Fico, adding that he intends to offer several people in their thirties the chance of joining the party leadership. Another thing that he aims to do is to create a shadow government. “Smer is still a strong group that will continue to work in the future,” he said.

Fico’s briefing came partly in reaction to Wednesday’s press conference held by Peter Pellegrini and ten Smer-SD MPs who announced that they’re leaving Smer in order to join Pellegrini’s new party. Fico called this a betrayal and stated that there are two possible explanations for it. “It’s either a deliberate fragmentation of the centre-left, or their opinions regarding values have changed immensely. Some people from this group had issues with introducing 13th-pension payments, for example,” noted Fico.

Fico at the same time called on the MPs who have decided to leave Smer to give up their posts in parliamentary committees and the post of parliamentary vice-chair in the case of Pellegrini. According to the Smer head, his party views their decision and especially the way in which they decided to part ways with Smer very negatively. Fico views them as traitors, as they used Smer to build their political careers.

The group that announced its departure from Smer-SD on Wednesday includes Pellegrini, party vice-chairs Richard Rasi and Peter Ziga, member of the party presidium Denisa Sakova and MPs Lubica Lassakova, Jan Ferencak, Matus Sutaj Estok, Peter Kmec, Erik Tomas, Robert Puci and Jan Blchac. Pellegrini believes that their numbers will grow and that they’ll manage to set up their own party by September.