Pellegrini Concedes He’s Gearing Up to Run for Post of Smer-SD Head

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Smer-SD vice-chair Peter Pellegrini (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, April 27 (TASR) – Smer-SD vice-chair, Parliamentary Vice-chair and ex-prime minister Peter Pellegrini has admitted that he may run for the post of chairman of his party, which is currently under the control of erstwhile prime minister Robert Fico.

“If Smer-SD wants to maintain its influence and the respect it has in this country, and the question of who should take the reins of the party appears, I’ll definitely be among those who will vie for reshaping Smer-SD anew,” said Pellegrini, adding that if such an opportunity doesn’t arise, he and his close colleagues will consider other means of bringing new and more modern social politics to Slovakia.

Pellegrini noted that a generational change has to take place within the party and that it has to be able to survive a change in party leader. “I’m convinced that a significant generational change must take place and that there also has to be a settlement with the past, which is usual. A democratic party of our kind has to be able to undergo notable personnel changes, including a change of head,” said Pellegrini.

When asked whether he’ll have enough support if he runs, Pellegrini replied that he can sense support from both voters and colleagues. “Backroom talk confirms that many people within the party, not only in Bratislava but also in the regions, understand and feel that Smer-SD can’t hold back now and that serious talks on this need to take place,” he said.
The ex-premier also pointed to the number of preferential votes that he obtained in the general election, noting that he gained more such votes than Fico. “I think that it was good that he didn’t play a significant part in the campaign. That’s why Smer-SD achieved the result it achieved,” he said.

At the same time, Pellegrini is of the opinion that the general election was the party’s last chance to change its ways. “Should an early or standard general election come and we enter it in our current condition, I’m convinced that our result would be much worse if no substantial changes had taken place within the party,” he said.

Last but not least, Pellegrini remarked that Smer has to get rid of its reputation as “a party that appears to be responsible for all bad things, for supporting stealing, corruption and so on”. Pellegrini said that it would sadden him if social democracy in Slovakia wore such a tag.