UPDATE – Slovak parliament postpones vote on government’s fate to Thursday

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PRAGUE, Dec 13 (Reuters) – Slovakia’s parliament agreed on Tuesday to delay a vote on a no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Eduard Heger’s minority government until Thursday, giving more time for negotiations and debate over options including a possible early election.

Slovak government at risk of losing no-confidence vote

Dec 13 (Reuters) – Slovakia’s minority government was at risk of falling as another independent lawmaker announced her intention to vote against it in a confidence vote on Tuesday.

Analysts have said a change in government could affect the European Union member’s support for neighbouring Ukraine, particularly if it brings to power the leftist opposition that has criticised Prime Minister Eduard Heger’s centre-right coalition for providing Kyiv with military equipment.

The opposition must secure at least 76 votes in the 150-seat parliament to bring down the government that has ruled in minority since September. 

The outcome of the voting procedure, scheduled for 1000 GMT, was unclear because independent votes could swing the balance.

But the risk the government will fall increased on Tuesday after one independent lawmaker, formerly from an opposition far-right faction, who local media said on Monday could tip the balance, came out in favour of the no-confidence motion.

“It is unacceptable for me that Prime Minister Heger while defending his government and work in parliament declares his government is pro-Ukrainian, pro-Europe, and must stay that way,” Dennik N news website quoted the lawmaker, Slavena Vorobelova, as saying.

Opposition groups – including the libertarian SaS party that quit Heger’s coalition in September – brought the no confidence motion as they accused his government of doing too little to help people cope with soaring energy costs. 

SaS left the government after months of clashes between its chairman and former Economy Minister Richard Sulik, and Finance Minister Igor Matovic, who is also Heger’s party chief.

Heger has said his government should stay in place so that it can lead the country through this difficult time, pointing out that energy prices will jump for many households in January as their fixed tariffs expire at the end of the year.

Several parties have pushed for an election next year, ahead of the planned poll in February 2024, if the cabinet falls.

(Reporting by Robert Muller and Jason Hovet in Prague; Editing by Alison Williams and Barbara Lewis)

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