Slovak PM Matovič To Resign and Swap Role With Finance Minister
Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovič announced his willingness to resign and offered to swap places with Finance Minister Eduard Heger. Matovič has been under increasing pressure to step down, especially after a secret agreement to buy Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine came to light three weeks ago. Photo: Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovič at a press conference on June 3, 2020. Credit: Vlada.cz.
EU, Mar 30 (BD) – On Sunday, Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovič announced his willingness to resign from his current post, and offered to swap places with Finance Minister Eduard Heger. Matovič has been under increasing pressure to step down as several crises coincided regarding the handling of the pandemic. The crisis that has overwhelmed his governing coalition erupted when a secret agreement to buy Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine came to light three weeks ago. “I will exchange roles with Finance Minister Eduard Heger. He is a good man and all of us can trust him,” Matovič told reporters. Heger accepted the “challenge” and stated his willingness to open talks with coalition partners and President Zuzana Caputova on a new government. Matovič and Heger are both from OLANO, the strongest party in the four-party coalition.
Slovakia has been hit hard by the pandemic, and the crisis escalated after Matovič ordered 2 million doses of Sputnik V without informing his coalition partners. He said that the purchase of Sputnik V would speed up the country’s vaccination program. Two parties in Matovič’s coalition government have repeatedly disagreed with Matovič’s party over how to handle the pandemic. Six ministers, including the Health Minister, have already resigned from the 16-member cabinet, and one party has declared that they plan to leave the four-party coalition unless Matovič leaves the government altogether.
According to the constitution, the resignation of the prime minister means the collapse of the sitting government, but the current four-member coalition may remain and form a new cabinet. In this case, the President should accept Matovič’s resignation and appoint his successor. When the new Prime Minister is in place, President Čaputová will then appoint the members of the new cabinet.