Bratislava, May 19 (TASR) – MP Jan Podmanicky gave a press conference on Tuesday to announce that he’s leaving the opposition Smer-SD party caucus, giving up his party membership and the post of the party’s regional chairman in Zilina.
Podmanicky has done so in reaction to criticism from his party colleagues of his intention to join the value-based platform of conservative MPs heralded by members of far-right LSNS caucus. He said that he doesn’t want to be the cause of a further escalation in tension within Smer-SD.
Podmanicky said he does not want to be a pretext to be used by Smer-SD vice-chair Peter Pellegrini to quit the party. “Since I don’t want to be a hurdle to Smer-SD’s even bigger shift leftwards and I don’t share opinions with Peter Pellegrini, who is in my eyes more a liberal than a left-wing politician and has a fundamentally opposite view of many cultural and ethical issue to mine, I decided to resign from the post of the party’s regional chairman in Zilina, I am terminating my membership in the party’s caucus, as well as membership in Smer-SD itself,” said Podmanicky, adding he’s not quitting political life. Meanwhile, he praised the fact that he’s always had a space in Smer-SD to raise issues that were not unanimously perceived within the party.
Podmanicky stressed that the platform was an initiative by MP Tomas Taraba of Christian Democracy – Life and Prosperity. He doesn’t view MPs Filip Kuffa or Taraba as fascists, but decent people, stressing he refuses any expressions of fascism. Taraba and Kuffa serve as MPs within the LSNS caucus. The platform should serve to prepare a joint approach of conservative MPs to value-based issues. They also invited coalition MPs to join it. The OLaNO party already declared it won’t participate.
In addition to Podmanicky, another Smer-SD MP, Marian Kery showed interest in joining the platform. Pellegrini on Monday (May 18) said he views it as their individual decision and that Smer-SD should take a clear position on it. He labelled any co-operation with far-right LSNS a wrong step. Smer-SD vice-chair Peter Ziga stated it is at odds with Smer-SD’s values.