Slovakia: the government coalition dissolves, the risk of early elections is real
The refusal of Finance Minister Igor Matovič to resign since the end of August has placed his party at the head of a minority government, following the departure of the Freedom and Solidarity party (SaS), a former member of the government coalition. The risk of early elections is real.
The Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party left the Slovak government after a two-month ultimatum asking Mr Matovič to step down. This departure came after he pushed through a package of social benefits for households, costing more than one billion euros. These have been criticized as unsystematic and were adopted in cooperation with a far-right opposition party.
The now former coalition party had already overthrown Mr Matovič last year from his post as Prime Minister after he ordered Russian Sputnik V vaccines, creating surprise in the country.
The three other parties in the government coalition now have at most 73 seats in Parliament, which is not enough to obtain the majority of 76 seats necessary for the adoption of laws. The coalition plans to count on the support of the opposition, either by lowering the quorum by not participating in the sessions or by voting in favor of their laws.
Mr Matovič refused to quit his post for the second time, despite being the least popular political figure in Slovakia, with an 88% disapproval rating. He claims that the ultimatum imposed by SaS was unreasonable and accused SaS leader Richard Sulík of contributing to the return of ” the Mafia “.
If Prime Minister Eduard Heger does not find sufficient political support for his government and 76 MPs vote for a no-confidence motion, Slovakia could see its first-ever early elections.
Current and former members of the Smer—Social Democracy party, whose past governments have been marred by corruption scandals, are leading in the polls.
The SaS party said it was open to voting for some of the coalition’s projects, especially those aimed at helping people cope with rising energy costs. This measure was included in the program of Richard Sulík, the outgoing Minister of Economy and leader of the SaS. Mr Heger has yet to announce the names of the successors to four SaS ministers, as the other parties have not yet reached an agreement.
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