Fico absent from the Smer congress due to high blood pressure

Smer is ready to win its fifth elections, PM Peter Pellegrini said. He also ruled out cooperation with the far-right.

Peter Pellegrini speaking at the Smer congress.Peter Pellegrini speaking at the Smer congress. (Source: SME)

Smer celebrated its 20th anniversary at a congress held in Bratislava’s Incheba venue on December 7. Its chair Robert Fico was not present for the first time in history.

Shortly before it began, he went to the hospital, referring to the problems with high pressure, the Sme daily reported.

As a result, the congress was led by incumbent PM and leader of Smer’s slate for the 2020 general election, Peter Pellegrini. He stressed in his speech that Smer wants to win the election for the fifth time.

This may be the hardest campaign for the party though, due to the criticism of the opposition and media.

Fico has had problems for some time

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Fico did not return to the congress. Pellegrini told the journalists that he is stabilised and his blood pressure is under control, Sme reported.

He failed to specify which hospital Fico went to.

The Smer chair was hospitalised in 2016, shortly after the new coalition with the Slovak National Party (SNS), Most-Híd and Sieť was formed. He also had to undergo surgery due to his heart problems.

As Sme reported, he is said to have had problems with blood pressure for a long time.

No to ĽSNS

The congress was attended by several foreign ambassadors and ex-president Ivan Gašparovič, the party’s deputy chair Juraj Blanár said.

Pellegrini said in his speech that he feels honoured to lead the slate for the elections and will do everything not to disappoint the party’s delegates. As he stressed, Smer is “an honest party whose aim is to make Slovakia a social state”, Sme reported.

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He also commented on the murders of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová, and the events that followed. Pellegrini stressed that the party should not be afraid to admit mistakes and claim responsibility.

He also reiterated that Smer will not collaborate with the far-right People’s Party – Our Slovakia (ĽSNS) and said that he does not think that the charges brought against Fico would harm Smer, Sme reported.

Commenting on the recently leaked video featuring ex-finance minister Ján Počiatek and former general prosecutor Dobroslav Trnka, Pellegrini said that the former has never been a member of Smer. He should explain his statements in the video to the law enforcement bodies, Pellegrini continued.

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