SLOVAK Prime Minister Robert Fico was re-elected chairman of his ruling Smer party with the votes of all 132 delegates to the party's national congress in Trenčín on September 30.
Fico was the only candidate for the post of Smer leader. He was elected for another four-year period, or until the next scheduled general elections.
Igor Federič and Marek Maďarič were elected new vice-chairmen of the party, while Dušan Čaplovič, Pavol Paška, Robert Kaliňák and Vladimir Maňka were also confirmed as vice-chairmen.
However, current MEP Monika Beňová-Flašíková, who was has been vice-chairwoman of Smer until now, didn't run for re-election. At the end of the congress Fico thanked her for her several years of work, and denied that Beňová-Flašíková’s departure was evidence of any split in the party. "This is simply an exchange of people. Variety is the spice of life, and such changes occur in every political party," Fico told the assembly. Beňová-Flašíková will continue to serve as a member of the European Parliament for Smer.
Following Beňová-Flašíková’s departure from the party executive, the party's vice-chair for foreign relations remains unoccupied. Each of the vice-chairmen will be responsible for international co-operation within his field. Maďarič will be in charge of the media sector, while Igor Federič will be responsible for the party's internal management.
Smer now wants to concentrate on December's municipal elections, which it will contest for the first time as a ruling coalition party.