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Slovakian prime minister resigns, swaps roles with finance minister

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Slovakian prime minister resigns, swaps roles with finance minister

Slovakian Prime Minister Igor Matovic made the surprise announcement on Sunday that he was resigning and would swap roles with Finance Minister Eduard Heger, paving the way out of a government crisis.

The change at the head of government was announced jointly in Bratislava after consultations between the party leaders of three of the four coalition parties.

Heger, who belongs to Matovic’s party Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OLaNO), announced talks with all coalition partners and said he would meet with President Zuzana Caputova on Monday. The president officially nominates the prime minister, according to the constitution.

The approval of the liberal party Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) was still outstanding in the evening. Its leader, Richard Sulik, resigned as minister of economy and deputy prime minister on Tuesday.

The three other governing parties have a slim parliamentary majority even without SaS.

The four-party coalition had fallen into a serious crisis over a dispute regarding its coronavirus policy. Six of the 16 government members resigned within a matter of days.

The smaller coalition partners SaS and Za Ludi (For the People) blamed Matovic for the high number of coronavirus fatalities in the country and accused him of arrogance.

Another point of contention was that Matovic ordered doses of the Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V against a decision of his own government, and personally picked them up at the airport.

Critics in the coalition however said the main problem was not the vaccine but Matovic’s “intolerable governing style.”

A week ago, Matovic already offered to resign under certain conditions, including that all his critics in the coalition should leave government.

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