The Slovak government loses its majority after the withdrawal of its partner

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Slovakia’s political crisis deepened after a junior partner completed its withdrawal from the ruling four-party coalition, leaving Prime Minister Eduard Heger without a parliamentary majority.

Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok, Justice Minister Maria Kolikova and Education Minister Branislav Gröhling, all from the liberal Freedom and Solidarity party, tendered their resignations on Monday. They followed the lead of party leader and former economy minister Richard Sulik, who resigned from his government post last week.

Heger said on Monday he planned to present candidates for the four vacant ministerial posts to President Zuzana Caputova, but gave no further details.

Freedom and Solidarity had previously said he was unwilling to remain in government due to disagreements with Finance Minister Igor Matovic, a populist leader whose Ordinary People’s Party won the 2020 parliamentary election.

“We are sorry to leave the government,” Sulik said on Monday.

Sulik clashed with Matovic over a number of issues, including how to tackle soaring inflation driven by high energy prices amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, or, earlier, how to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Their disagreements gradually turned into bitter personal attacks.

Freedom and Solidarity had given Prime Minister Heger a deadline until the end of August to reshuffle the Cabinet and govern without Matovic, saying that otherwise his four ministers would resign.

Matovic’s ordinary people’s party rejected this option.

After winning the election on an anti-corruption ticket two years ago, Matovic struck a deal to govern with Freedom and Solidarity, the conservative For the People party, and We Are Family, a right-wing populist group allied with Israel. French extreme right. National Rally Party.

The government has made the fight against corruption a key political issue.

But amid the coronavirus pandemic last year, it fell apart when Matovic was forced to resign as prime minister after orchestrating a secret deal to acquire 2 million doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine. despite disagreement among its coalition partners.

The same parties formed a new government under Heger, who is a close ally of Matovic and the deputy leader of his Ordinary People’s Party.

The current Slovak government has donated weapons to the Ukrainian armed forces while opening its border to refugees fleeing the war with Russia.

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