The replacement of Matovics takes place after a government crisis. Matovic and the members of his cabinet will remain in office until a new government is appointed. Matovic is to become finance minister in the future.
The Slovak President Zuzana Caputova accepted the resignation of Igor Matovic as Slovak Prime Minister on Tuesday and entrusted Finance Minister Eduard Heger with forming a government, as the Slovak news agency TASR reported. The replacement of Matovics takes place after a government crisis. Matovic and the members of his cabinet will remain in office until a new government is appointed. Matovic is to become finance minister in the future.
On Sunday, under pressure from some of his coalition partners, Matovic announced his resignation as head of the four-party government and proposed Heger as his successor. Two smaller coalition partners had accused Matovic of self-importance, unpredictability and an “unbearable style of government”. They blamed him for the fact that Slovakia recently recorded more corona deaths in relation to its population than almost any other country in the world. The barrel overflowed when Matovic ordered the corona vaccine Sputnik V from Russia against a decision by his own government and picked up the first delivery personally at the airport.
The 44-year-old marketing expert Heger belongs to the conservative Christian wing of the Matovic movement, Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (Olano). In contrast to the polarizing Matovic, he is considered a consensus politician. All four previous coalition parties have already promised him their support. They also accepted that Matovic wanted to become finance minister in return and announced that, with a few exceptions, they wanted to nominate the same people as before to the government.
On Tuesday, however, the surprise was that the meeting between President Caputova and Matovic and Heger, which was planned for the morning, was postponed for several hours at short notice. And although Heger had originally announced that he would already be submitting a completed list of ministers to the President, no names were published. The presidential chancellery only announced that Caputova and Heger had spoken about the composition of the new government and that the public would be informed “as soon as possible”.
Matovic, who has been in office for a year, said in an emotional speech: “It was only a single year, but it felt like a decade. It was the hardest year for Slovakia since World War II and I survived it with a single pair of shoes, but also with a single goal: to protect people’s lives and health “. He assured the public that they could trust Heger. For his part, Heger thanked Matovic for his work as Prime Minister. He called Matovic’s resignation a gesture aimed at bringing peace and hope to Slovakia and easing tensions between the coalition partners. “Igor, as we have just pulled the same end of the rope together, I hope that we will continue to do so in the interests of Slovakia,” said Heger.
The government crisis had kept Slovakia in suspense for weeks. Several ministers had submitted their resignation, among them Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok and Deputy Prime Minister Richard Sulik. The coronavirus situation in Slovakia has recently eased somewhat. However, the country with its 5.5 million inhabitants has more deaths than Austria, for example. 9,624 people died of Covid, according to the Slovak health authorities. The seven-day incidence per 100,000 inhabitants was last around 160. In Austria the value was around 255.