The president of the Bratislava Self-Governing Region, Pavol Frešo, announced on his Facebook page on April 18 that he will seek to become the chair of the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) at its party congress in Banská Bystrica next month, the TASR newswire reported.
"At a press conference tomorrow (April 19), I'll announce my decision to accept the candidacy for the SDKÚ chair along with my basic vision of the party's future," Frešo's message states. He had previously announced his interest in seeking the post if he received sufficient support from SDKÚ's regional structures. Over 20 SDKU regional associations have supported him so far which makes Freso the front-runner in receiving endorsements to lead the party that has formed three previous Slovak coalition governments in 1998-2002, 2002-06 and 2010-12, all while the party was chaired by Mikuláš Dzurinda. Frešo said on his posting that SDKU has lost touch with citizens and that he wants the party to go back to its Christian, democratic and people's party roots.
SDKÚ vice-chair Lucia Žitňanská said that she is ready for a fair race for the post and will seek to rebuild SDKU into a modern, decent and open political party. Speaking at a press conference held on April 18, Žitňanska said that Frešo notified her by telephone about his decision to run and said she is pleased with his decision.
She also said that if she becomes chair, she will eliminate the position of SDKÚ party treasurer and bestow the powers on a new SDKÚ Office Head. She said an analysis of adverse developments in the party was recently drafted by experts and that replacing a couple of individuals with fresh faces and putting a new label on the party will not be enough. Žitňanská specifically cited the party’s failure to address issues that bother people as the reason for what she called an election fiasco, coupled with frequent conflicts emerging within Iveta Radičová's government, the so-called Gorilla scandal and the departure of Radičová from the party.
SDKÚ MP Viliam Novotný told TASR on the same day that his decision whether to seek the SDKÚ chair will depend on how much support he receives in his native Košice region as well as in other parts of the country.
"If someone wants to be the party chairman for the whole country, he should have the support of the whole country," Novotný stated, as quoted by TASR, adding that he will make a definitive announcement next week. He was proposed as a candidate for the chair by the Košice local party coordination council on April 16. Novotny, a 38-year-old medical doctor, said the fact that several party members are interested in the party leadership shows that SDKÚ has remained a free and democratic party.
Mikuláš Dzurinda, the current chair of SDKÚ – and the party's only leader since it was formed in January 2000 – announced in March that he will not run at the congress on May 19 in Banská Bystrica. He admitted responsibility for the party's poor result (6.09 percent) in the March 10 general election.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
19. Apr 2012 at 10:00