FOR THE first time in the history of independent Slovakia, Bratislava will be governed by a mayor who was not nominated by centre-right parties, after left-wing candidate Milan Ftáčnik, who ran as an independent with the support of Smer, won the mayoral race in the Slovak capital.
Ftáčnik will, however, have to cooperate with the city council, on which the centre-right parties retained their majority. The divergent results of the mayoral election and the elections to the city council have led observers to question whether Magdaléna Vášáryová, the mayoral candidate of the centre-right parties, was the best candidate for the race.
The Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), who proposed Vášáryová as their candidate, and then won the support of its coalition partners for her, did not express any regrets for having nominated her for the post.
“It was no mistake because she passed a proper selection procedure based on our statute,” Dzurinda said. SDKÚ selected its candidates via primary elections and Vášáryová won that party vote in July 2010.
SDKÚ leaders have already hinted that they might reconsider their system in future and allow the presidium of the party to veto decisions from its primaries.
SDKÚ’s ruling coalition partners, however, did not hesitate to shower Vášáryová and SDKÚ with criticism immediately after the results were made official.
“[The rightist voters] aren’t dumb and if they are to vote for a party candidate they should have a positive personal attitude towards him or her,” SaS deputy chairman Juraj Miškov said, as quoted by the Sme daily, adding that Vášáryová polarised voters.
According to unsubstantiated rumours, SaS had agreed to support Vášáryová in the race in exchange for the post of culture minister. Vášáryová originally was thought to be a candidate for the ministerial post but in the end it went to Daniel Krajcer of SaS, the Sme daily speculated.
KDH also complained about the selection of Vášáryová as the right's mayoral candidate for Bratislava.
“In the past we have offered candidates in the capital who not only gained the support of parties close to us but also managed to win the support of [other] voters,” Peter Bobula, a member of the KDH leadership said, as quoted by Sme.
Mesežnikov believes that the problem of SDKÚ in Bratislava was that they have not been able to groom a local leader to date because their past coalition strategy depended on supporting KDH candidates for the mayor’s position in exchange for KDH support for other swaps which allowed SDKÚ to nominate their candidates for executive and parliamentary posts.
“SDKÚ now paid its price for supporting the KDH candidates for [Bratislava] mayors in the past, and I believe that the [negative] experience [of voters] during the term of the KDH-nominated mayor also created a problematic situation for SDKÚ and their candidate Vášáryová,” Mesežnikov said.
According to him, Vášáryová was perhaps the most appropriate candidate SDKÚ could have chosen.
6. Dec 2010 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff