Pavol Frešo, the president of the Bratislava Self-Governing Region, was elected the new chair of the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) at the party’s congress held in Zvolen on May 19. Frešo received 242 votes while his top rival, former justice minister Lucia Žitňaňská, had the support of 154 delegates in the second round of the secret ballot, the TASR newswire reported.
“I am taking on a huge amount of trust,” said Frešo, as quoted by TASR, after the vote. “It is a huge commitment for me to deliver on what I have said, and I will make good on what is included in the party’s ‘general programme’. You will be able to challenge me at any time.”
He added that he expressed his thanks to both Žitňanská and a third candidate, Viliam Novotný who “have pushed the party forward by entering this contest”.
Žitňanská said that she respects the decision of the delegates. When asked whether she was disappointed with the results, she said that she entered the contest “even-tempered”.
“It was a close contest, I am okay with the results,” she added, as quoted by TASR.
The outgoing chair of the party, Mikuláš Dzurinda, said that only time will tell if the newly elected leader will be a better chairman than his main rival for the post, Žitňanská.
“The vote was secret and absolutely free,” he added. “This is how the delegates have decided, and I will take this decision on board.”
Dzurinda added that the only thing that mattered to him is that there should be an alternative to the current government.
“SDKÚ has this potential and I will always lend support to whatever moves us forward regardless of who the chairman is,” he said, as quoted by TASR.
The party congress also elected four new deputy chairs of the party. Ivan Štefanec received 276 votes, Jozef Mikuš 270 votes and unsuccessful bidder for the chairmanship Viliam Novotný 240 votes. The last deputy chair is former defence minister Martin Fedor who received 170 votes in the second round of the vote.
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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