Martin, December 9 (TASR) – The senior governing party Smer-SD is losing voter support, positions and energy, as was evident in several elections on various levels in recent years, including the November regional elections, Culture Minister Marek Madaric, who recently resigned as Smer vice-chairman, said at the party congress in Martin (Zilina region) on Saturday.
“Are our ideas convincing enough? Are we trustworthy enough in presenting them? Are we ready to change the party and also ourselves as part of the process?” asked Madaric, adding that he’s thus calling for avoiding the fate of the erstwhile mighty HZDS of Vladimir Meciar, now an extinct party.
While Prime Minister and Smer chief Robert Fico has been describing the results of the November regional elections as a success for the party, Madaric was unambiguous in his criticism at the congress.
“We’ve lost four governors and we even weren’t able to present a candidate [for governor] in Bratislava region. The regional elections have provided an opportunity for deep self-reflection. Self-criticism isn’t a display of weakness, but it’s a measure of inner strength,” said Madaric.
The culture minister stressed that if a party wants to be present on the political scene, it needs to have values and ideas consistent with interests of its voters and at the same time have officials acting in a trustworthy manner and in line with the aforementioned values. Meanwhile, such a party must replace officials who have lost energy or harm its trustworthiness.
The former Smer vice-chairman believes that the party must return to its ideals. “I view major changes as necessary. That’s why I’ve resigned – I wanted to begin with myself,” said Madaric.
At the end of the speech, Madaric thanked Fico for cooperation, openness and magnanimity displayed with him for years. “I believe that it will also remain so in the future,” said Madaric.
A long applause followed Madaric’s speech.