THE ROLE of president as the political leader of the country will gain in importance with the intensified splintering of political parties and with extremist and ultra-nationalist movements coming to the fore, Prime Minister Robert Fico said on the public-service RTVS on December 22.

It's therefore important that the post of president is filled by a person that has experienced something, not a person who is only about to learn from the experience, Fico, who announced his presidential candidacy last week, said.

"The president will have to meet standard political parties often in order to be able to lead a broad social dialogue and in order to push for Slovakia's interests outside the country," said Fico.

Fico at the same time observed that his presidential bid won't have any negative impact on his carrying out of the duties associated with being prime minister, as he will serve as premier during the presidential campaign only for about eight weeks in the run-up to the March 2014 elections.

Confronted with his own statements in June – in which Fico said that it would be difficult to sit on two chairs as both prime minister with respect to his potential presidential candidacy – Fico now says that times have changed. He specified that in June he was first and foremost interested in solving numerous problems faced by the country in the wake of the economic crisis. Nevertheless, Fico said that his cabinet has got Slovakia back on track, and the country is now ready for accelerated economic growth in 2014.

Referring to Fico's decision, opposition party Most-Hid Chairman Bela Bugar told viewers that it won't be good for Slovakia if Fico becomes president in 2014 and the governing Smer-SD party would gain all three of Slovakia's key constitutional officials. Bugar is afraid political power is being monopolised.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
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