Smer-SD Nominates Raz, Rasi and Lassakova as New Cabinet Members

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Smer-SD head Robert Fico (left) and Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, March 19 (TASR) – Jozef Raz Jr., incumbent general secretary at the Health Ministry’s Service Office, is set to become the new interior minister, stated senior coalition Smer-SD head Robert Fico after a party presidium session on Monday.

Fico added that the presidium also supported Peter Pellegrini as a candidate for the prime minister. Pellegrini’s current post of deputy prime minister of the Cabinet for investments and informatisation should be filled by incumbent Kosice mayor Richard Rasi. Incumbent Smer-SD regional head in Banska Bystrica Lubica Lassakova should become the new culture minister. Finance Minister Peter Kazimir will keep his post and at the same time he is set to become the vice-premier. The remaining Smer-SD posts in the Cabinet should remain unchanged.

Regarding Lassakova, Pellegrini said that he has known her for many years as a decent and hardworking woman who is devoted to culture and the media. The designated premier also welcomed the nomination of Jozef Raz as the interior minister. He is the son of Jozo Raz, the leader of legendary Slovak pop-rock band Elan.

“We said that we want a crisis manager who is not a member of the party. We even entertained having Health Minister Tomas Drucker [in the post] and he himself recommended Jozef Raz. That’s how the nomination was created,” said Pellegrini.

One of the first tasks for the new interior minister will be to draft a legislative change regarding the selection of the police corps president, which will come into force within this year. It is not clear yet whether or not incumbent Police Corps President Tibor Gaspar will be replaced in the post. Fico described Gaspar as an absolute professional, however.

Asked whether Fico would return to Parliament as an MP, the outgoing prime minister said that he wants to be in Parliament at least until the new government gains the Parliament’s confidence. “Then I want to focus on the party and be a professional chairman. My job will involve making clear what the party expects and what the options are. I will fully back the prime minister and the Smer-SD ministers,” said Fico, adding that a Smer-SD council will be held in April, at which a new management style for the party will be discussed.