Slovakia’s junior coalition party threatens to quit government

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A junior partner in Slovakia’s ruling coalition, the liberal SaS party, threatened to pull out of the government if finance minister Igor Matovic does not step down by the end of August.

SaS has 19 lawmakers in the 150-seat Slovak parliament and its departure would deprive Prime Minister Eduard Heger’s government of a majority. Matovic is chairman of the prime minister’s OlANO party.

“Our coalition’s biggest problem is called Igor Matovic… Prime Minister Eduard Heger should be solving the problem, unfortunately, nothing is happening,” SaS leader and Economy Minister Richard Sulik said at a televised news conference after his party leadership meeting.

Sulik said that his party was pulling out of the coalition agreement, and it wanted a new agreement in place by the end of August, which would not include Matovic in the government.

Sulik has often clashed with Matovic, including in June, when the finance minister leaned on lawmakers from a far-right opposition party to push through a bill aimed at helping people hit by high energy prices and soaring inflation.

In a statement issued before the SaS announcement, Heger’s OlANO rejected the departure of Matovic from the government, and it said it would not support a snap election.

In a comment posted on OlANO Facebook page, Heger called for stability, saying the government has started reforms and projects favourable for the country, which need to be completed. The current government took office in March 2020.

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