Pellegrini: My Ambitions Go Beyond Keeping Health Ministry ‘Heated and Lit’

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President Zuzana Caputova (R) accepts the resignation from outgoing health minister Andrea Kalavska in a ceremony held in the Presidential Palace on December 17, 2019 (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, December 17 (TASR) – Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (Smer-SD), tasked on Tuesday by President Zuzana Caputova with heading the Health Ministry temporarily in the wake of Andrea Kalavska’s resignation (a Smer-SD nominee), stated that his ambitions go far beyond just keeping the ministry building “heated and lit”, TASR learnt on the same day.

Pellegrini insists that Kalavska did a “hell of a good job”.

“I don’t want just to maintain “heating and lighting”. That’s not my style of work. Here, thankfully, I can make some quite autonomous decisions and not ask anyone for assistance with following them through,” he commented. The Prime Minister intends to inspect in person the progress of the demolition works on the hospital in Bratislava’s Razsochy area. Furthermore, he would like to complete the reconstruction of large hospitals and the building of a detention centre in Hronovce (Nitra region) for mentally challenged criminals by the February 2020 election.

Pellegrini declared that he considers his assuming of leadership over the Health Ministry the most optimal solution in the given situation. “By agreeing with Ms. President on this solution, I wanted to demonstrate the importance of this ministry. We can’t assign it to someone just to go through the motions, to do nothing but keep it “heated up and lit”. Some serious work must be done there,” he claimed.

Kalavska conceded that she feels “sad” and “heavy-hearted”. “These are natural feelings when you cared about something,” she said, adding, however, that she is also leaving the post with a sense of a job well done.

“I really tried to distance myself from my ego. I believe I managed to suppress it quite significantly while pursuing my genuine wish to change something for the better in Slovakia. But when there was no longer the room for Parliament to convene and adopt laws that could have tangibly helped the Slovak health sector, that was the final straw and my patience expired,” she commented.

The fact that Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini was tasked with temporarily heading the Health Ministry serves as evidence that Smer-SD is depleted in terms of personnel, thinks opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party.

“This party is still recycling the same faces, stained by scandals, but then we can’t expect anything else from them. Hence, it doesn’t matter who will serve as the health minister, as the only good thing they have – the stratification of hospitals – can’t be promoted because of (Smer-SD chair) Robert Fico, anyway,” stated MP Jana Ciganikova (SaS).