Figel Resigns as KDH Leader, Commissions Zajac to Act as Stand-in

KDH chairman Jan Figel announcing his resignation at a press conference in Bratislava on Tuesday (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, March 15 (TASR) – Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) chairman Jan Figel at a press conference in Bratislava on Tuesday announced that he was resigning from his post and that he’s commissioned vice-chair Pavol Zajac to act as leader until the party congress.

Zajac has recommended calling the congress for June 11.

Figel also said that he had decided to step down immediately after the results of the March 5 general election were announced.

“I made my decision back on Sunday (March 6), but I found it reasonable to discuss it with my colleagues and the party leadership first. I also wanted to make sure that the movement was stable and functioning properly and that further problems wouldn’t be created,” stated Figel.

Figel has called on members of the party’s leadership to remain in their posts until the congress. This should make the decision-making process easier. Figel hopes that further developments will be constructive and will lead KDH in the right direction. “The movement needs it. It’s not only about one person, one chairman, but about the whole movement and Slovakia’s interests,” he asserted, adding that Slovakia needs modern Christian democrats.

Figel said that the election of a new leader will be a challenge. He noted that one of the candidates may be current mayor of Levoca (Presov region) Milan Majersky. “KDH needs a change in its perception, but continuity in its values. A change in leadership is just the beginning of the process. I’ll do everything in my power to help it along,” said Figel, who believes that KDH will return to parliament in the next election, even if it’s an early one.

According to the final results, KDH on 4.94 percent failed to gain enough votes to win seats in parliament for the first time in the history of the independent Slovakia. On the day after the election Figel said that KDH was ready to take responsibility for the results and offer leading posts to other colleagues. The KDH Council will meet on March 19 in order to get a “new face”.

When asked how he would explain the election failure, Figel said that it was due to a whole series of unfortunate and obvious reasons. “We’d like to discuss and analyse it at the meeting of the council,” he stated, adding that many KDH voters have obviously shifted their support to other political entities. “We failed to address those that we care about,” he added.