Current President Zuzana Caputova's term ends in June. Credit:

Slovak President Caputova Dismisses Heger’s Government After It Loses Confidence Vote

Caputova also called on politicians to agree on early elections for the first half of next year. Photo credit:

Bratislava, Dec 16 (CTK) – Slovak President Zuzana Caputova today dismissed the government of Prime Minister Eduard Heger (OLaNO), after the Slovak parliament passed a motion of no confidence on Thursday.

Under the constitution, Heger’s cabinet will remain in office until a new government is appointed, but with limited powers.

Caputova also called on politicians to agree on early elections for the first half of next year. The regular election is scheduled for February 2024.

The outgoing government will lose the power to decide on vital matters of economic and social policy, as well as internal and foreign policy.

The consent of the head of state will be necessary for any government decisions in areas where powers are not granted directly to the government by the constitution, and also the appointment and dismissal of some senior officials.

Slovakia has had a government with limited powers before, after the fall of Prime Minister Iveta Radicova in 2011.

“I want to ask not only you, the prime minister, but also other political representatives to take the necessary steps so that by the end of January at the latest, the parliament should make all the necessary decisions leading to an early election,” Caputova said.

“I deem it necessary that the early election be held in the first half of next year,” she added, arguing that the government only has limited powers, and there is a need to draft the budget bill for next year.

Caputova said if there was no consensus on calling early elections, she would proceed to further steps in line with the constitution. She has the option of naming a new cabinet.

Before the parliament decides on shortening its term, the constitution will have to be amended to change the rules on calling early elections, which would require a three-fifths majority in the parliament.

The Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party, whose ministers left the cabinet in September, is opposed to early elections, while Boris Kollar, head of the junior government coalition party We Are Family, has voiced his support. Heger has not made the position of OLaNO clear yet, but OLaNO and SaS have enough votes together to block the passage of a constitutional amendment in parliament.

The possible introduction of constitutional rules for calling early elections is the question of a public referendum, set by Caputova for 21 January 2023.

The opposition Hlas-SD of Peter Pellegrini and Smer-SD of former Prime Minister Robert Fico have been the two leading parties in opinion polls for some time. According to a poll carried out by the AKO agency in December, Hlas-SD are on 20.2% support, followed by Smer-SD on 16.1%, the non-parliamentary Progressive Slovakia on 11.8%, SaS on 9.8%, OLaNO on 8%, and We Are Family on 7.7%.

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