The leader of a junior Slovak coalition party said on Monday he was resigning as economy minister to help resolve a political crisis which has shaken Prime Minister Igor Matovic’s government.
Richard Sulik’s announcement comes a day after Matovic offered his own resignation, with conditions, as his government has been reeling from a dispute sparked by a purchase of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine which has not been cleared by the European Union drug regulator.
“This resignation is for Igor Matovic to see that we are prepared … for a reconstruction of the cabinet including the prime minister,” Sulik told reporters at a televised briefing in Bratislava.
It was unclear if the resignation would help save the four-party cabinet that has been plagued by personality and management style disputes between Matovic and his partners since its formation a year ago.
Matovic and his OLANO party won last year’s election on pledges to weed out corruption and murky links between politics, justice, police and business, following the murder of an investigative journalist. A number of prosecutions have been initiated since.
Matovic said on Sunday he was ready to quit and form a new cabinet with his OLANO party and the same three coalition partners, but listed conditions including demands that Sulik leaves, his SaS party give up one cabinet seat, and Matovic has a ministerial seat in a new government.
Sulik said Matovic should not be in any new cabinet if he was to remain out as well.
The row has plagued the cabinet amid a raging coronavirus wave, which has put the EU member of 5.5 million among the worst-hit European countries.
Matovic angered his coalition partners in early March by ordering Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines without their knowledge, despite protests the country should not use shots not approved by the EU drug regulator EMA.
(Reporting by Jan Lopatka and Robert Muller; Editing by Alison Williams and Richard Chang)