Zvolen, September 7 (TASR) – Richard Sulik was re-elected as chairman of the Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party at its extraordinary congress held in Zvolen (Banska Bystrica region) on Saturday.
Sulik as a sole candidate running for the party chairman post gained votes from 135 party members. The congress was attended by 145 out of 213 SaS members.
“More than two thirds of members came to the congress and voted for me. This is an important signal,” said Sulik shortly after the vote. Despite absence of one third of party members, Sulik declared the party coherence to journalists who attended a press conference following the congress.
Although the SaS leader’s term in office will expire in June 2020, Sulik convoked the congress due to considerations on change in the leader post that have appeared within the party. SaS vice-chairman Lubomir Galko considered running for the post.
The SaS head stated that the party’s statutes allow an extraordinary congress to be convened and elect the chairperson earlier. “When there appeared voices saying that someone else was interested in running for the post [of chairman], I don’t know a more democratic way to allow it,” Sulik told TASR.
However, nine SaS members didn’t come to Zvolen, including party vice-chairs Jana Kissova, Galko, caucus leader Natalia Blahova, as well as almost 60 other members of the party. Several of them called on Sulik before the congress to cancel the congress, claiming that his term is ending in mid-2020 and all of them supported him in the previous election. By not attending the congress, they wanted to signal that they will protect the basic democratic principles in the party. According to Blahova, Sulik only stirred tension in the party by this, gambling also with the voter support. Moreover, he didn’t allow anybody to prepare for the candidacy due to a lack of time, she added.
“All party members learnt about the congress on time and had a chance to run for the post, as well as present themselves enough. The question as to why they haven’t used it should be addressed to them,” Sulik said before the congress.