THE RULING Smer party held its annual convention on December 7, at which it was expected that the party would announce the name of its presidential candidate.

But Smer still remains tight-lipped about its candidate. Observers have mentioned Robert Fico most often as the one who will run for the presidential office in the spring of 2014.

Smer is set to announce its final decision “later this month”, Fico said following the convention, but declined to say whether or not he is interested in running for the post, the TASR newswire reported.

Speaking to the convention, however, Fico was preparing his party members for the possibility of an election defeat, the Sme daily wrote.

“Whether it will be a victory or a defeat, it cannot influence our ambitions to be a successful political party even in the years to come,” he said, as quoted by Sme. Fico said his party can lose the presidential race in the spring, but regardless of the outcome, Smer will win the parliamentary elections in 2016.

Fico focused on his government’s priorities for the upcoming term, and declared its aim to get the unemployment rate to the eurozone level, which is 2 percentage points lower than its current rate of approximately 14 percent, TASR wrote.

“We’ll complete the second year of the Government’s term in April. We’ve been focusing on tackling the economic crisis in the first half of the term. We now feel that a revival of the European and Slovak economies is coming, however. We feel that the scope is emerging to increase the people’s living standards," he said, as quoted by TASR.

The government also sees increasing people’s salaries as a priority, according to Fico.

“We have the highest labour productivity in the Visegrad Four (Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland), but we don’t have the highest salaries,” said Fico, as quoted by TASR.

The government’s third priority is fighting tax evasion.

Source: Sme, TASR

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.