Bratislava, Slovakia – After officially stepping down on Saturday as president and handing over the reigns to Zuzana Caputova, Andrej Kiska didn’t waste any time: on Monday, he officially launched his new political party, called Za Ľudí (For the People), to challenge the ruling Smer party in next year’s national elections.
Kiska launches new political party ahead of 2020 elections
“We need to get capable and honest people into politics, that’s the cornerstone”, Kiska said during a press conference. “So far we’ve registered 30.000 supporters, and in the upcoming days, they will all receive an offer to become members of the party”.
The program and detailed political agenda of Za Ľudí should be unveiled in September, according to Kiska, who was joined, among others, by several mayors from across Slovakia, as well as former MEP Jana Zitnanska, ex-state secretary Maria Kolikova and Juraj Seliga, former spokesperson of For a Decent Slovakia, the civic association at the heart of the mass protests organized following Jan Kuciak’s murder last year.
He also commented: “Our aim is to also provide an alternative to those who don’t consider the current opposition as an option”, warning that the 2020 parliamentary elections will be significant for the future of the country. “Smer-SD is ready to govern with [far-right leader Marian] Kotleba and it’s also ready to govern with [unsuccessful presidential candidate Stefan] Harabin”.
Risk of further dividing the progressive opposition
According to the former president, his new party For the People will by ready to cooperate and hold talks with the Christian-Democrats (KDH), Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), OLaNO and the coalition between Progressive Slovakia and Spolu.
In 2017, Kiska had dismissed ongoing rumors about his desire to stay in politics: “I will not establish a political party, I will not be a candidate to the national Parliament and of course I’m not considering becoming Prime Minister at all”. But ever since last year, when Kiska’s clash with Fico and his ruling Smer party intensified in the wake of Kuciak’s murder, rumors circulated that he might be vying for the Prime Minister’s post, something he recently confirmed when announcing the launch of his new party.
Voted in March as the most trusted politician in Slovakia, Kiska’s new party might further split the opposition and the liberal vote, according to analysts. His announcement comes a few days after Progressive Slovakia (PS) and Spolu, whose coalition came out on top in last month’s European elections, signed a joint agreement ahead of the 2020 elections.
The PS-Spolu coalition reached out to Andrej Kiska, saying they were willing to cooperate with his new political party.