PRAGUE (AP) – The Prime Minister of Slovakia announced on Sunday that he will leave to find a way to transform the cabinet, which will alleviate the political crisis caused by a secret deal to buy a vaccine for the political Spritnik V coronavirus.
Prime Minister Igor Matovich said he was proposing to change positions with Finance Minister Eduard Heger from his “Ordinary People” party, and Heger said: “I accept the challenge.”
Heger said he would immediately begin talks with coalition partners on a possible new government; he was going to meet with President Uzun Kaputova on Monday for consultations.
The political crisis erupted three weeks ago when a secret deal was revealed involving Slovakia agreeing to buy the Russian Sputnik V vaccine in 2 million doses. Slovakia is part of the 27-nation European Union, which has not yet approved the Russian vaccine.
Matovich’s two parties in the coalition government, Freedom, Solidarity, and the People, which have repeatedly clashed with his Ordinary People party over the epidemic, have demanded his resignation as a condition for the coalition to survive.
Matovic defended the purchase of Sputnik V, saying that it would speed up the vaccination program in one of the most affected countries in the EU. In Slovakia, about 9,500 viral deaths were registered in the epidemic.
Matovic agreed to resign if his big rival, Freedom առաջնորդ Solidarity leader Richard Sulik, and Justice Minister Maria Kolikova of the People for the Party party resigned, which they did. At the time of the coup, six ministers from all four parties in the coalition resigned.
But RFE / RL rejected some of Matovic’s other terms, including Sulik’s request for one of his three ministries to resign. Matovic said on Sunday that he had renounced any other conditions “in order for the coalition to continue.”
Two coalition parties, the Conservatives for People and the right-wing populists We Are a Family, immediately said they accepted the prime minister’s plan as a way out of the crisis. The pro-business Freedom and Solidarity party, which withdrew from the coalition before Matovic’s resignation, said it was ready to return to government.
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