The upcoming congress of the ruling Smer party, slated for June 28, will see several top members of the party lose their positions, in government and/or in the party.

Two ministers, two party vice-chairmen, and several state secretaries [i.e. deputy ministers] will be recalled at the congress, the SITA newswire wrote, naming Education Minister and vice-chariman Dušan Čaplovič (who will allegedly lose both functions) and Economy Minister Tomáš Malatinský. Čaplovič will probably be replaced as Smer vice-chairman by Žilina regional Governor Juraj Blanár and as minister by Finance Ministry State Secretary Peter Pellegrini, who should also become party vice-chairman, replacing MEP Vladimír Maňka who in autumn failed in his run for Banská Bystrica regional governor. Oľga Nachtmannová is to become the Education Ministry state secretary, according to the TASR newswire.

Marek Maďarič, who on June 16 resigned from his post of party vice-chair, will likely get it back.

Malatinský is expected to be replaced by current Environment Minister
Peter Žiga, SITA wrote. However, TASR suggested he may be replaced by his state secretary, Pavol Pavlis. Pavlis’ position shall be filled by Juraj Gedra of the National Property Fund. Ivan Korčok should return as Foreign and European Affairs state secretary.

Moreover, Žiga would lose the position of Košice regional head of the Smer party, while Košice Mayor Richard Raši is mentioned as replacement. Jana Laššáková is expected to lose the post of Banská Bystrica regional party head, to be replaced either by Maňka, or Ján Senko, TASR wrote. Laššáková could also lose the post of Smer caucus head. The special congress of Smer has been summoned for June 28 by party chairman and Prime Minister Robert Fico.

These changes were discussed at the June 16 session of Smer leadership, according to the Sme daily. The paper also mentioned Labour Minister Ján Richter as a potential candidate to be replaced.

Sme cited the midway point of the party’s term leading the country, as well as failures of Fico in presidential election, Maňka in regional elections and the smaller-than-expected victory in European Parliament elections as the reasons behind the changes.

(Source: SITA, TASR, Sme)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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