Slovak government falls after losing no-confidence vote

Dec 14, 2022, 7:37 PM | Updated: Dec 15, 2022, 11:59 am
Slovakia's Prime Minister Eduard Heger leaves the hall ahead of a confidence vote for his Cabinet a...

Slovakia's Prime Minister Eduard Heger leaves the hall ahead of a confidence vote for his Cabinet at the parliament session in Bratislava, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022. Slovakia's coalition government has fallen after losing a parliamentary no-confidence vote Thursday, a move that could lead to an early election. (Jaroslav Novak/TASR via AP)

(Jaroslav Novak/TASR via AP)

PRAGUE (AP) — Slovakia’s coalition government fell Thursday after losing a no-confidence vote in parliament called by the opposition following months of political crisis, in a development that could lead to an early election.

In the country’s 150-seat Parliament, 78 lawmakers, two more than the 76 needed, voted to oust the three-party minority government of Prime Minister Eduard Heger. Three coalition lawmakers voted against the government.

The liberal Freedom and Solidarity party, which requested the vote, withdrew from the coalition government in September. Freedom and Solidarity head Richard Sulik accused the government of incompetence and losing its anti-corruption drive.

“Finally,” Sulik commented on the government’s collapse.

President Zuzana Caputova will have to appoint a new prime minister. Several opposition and coalition parties have indicated they would prefer an early election. A two-thirds parliamentary majority would be needed to hold such an election.

Caputova might ask Heger’s government to stay in office with reduced powers until an early vote can take place.

Heger said he would meet the president later Thursday.

The opposition would stand a good chance to win a snap ballot, recent polls suggested.

“It’s the best possible Christmas present for the people of Slovakia,” former prime minister Peter Pellegrini, who heads the leftist opposition Voice — Social Democracy party, said of the result of the vote.

Slovakia’s next regularly scheduled parliamentary election is not until February 2024.

The vote was the latest step in a long-term political crisis in Slovakia.

“It will be very difficult to find a new functioning government,” analyst Samuel Abraham told the TA3 news television. “This crisis will continue.”

Freedom and Solidarity said before its departure from the government that it wasn’t willing to stay because of disagreements with Finance Minister Igor Matovic, a populist leader whose Ordinary People party won the 2020 parliamentary election.

Sulik clashed with Matovic on a number of issues, including how to tackle soaring inflation driven by high energy prices amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They also disagreed on how to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Freedom and Solidarity had given Prime Minister Heger a deadline until the end of August to reshuffle the Cabinet and rule without Matovic, saying that otherwise its four ministers would resign.

Matovic’s Ordinary People party originally rejected that option. In a last minute effort to save the government, Matovic offered his resignation Thursday, but it was too late.

“We have no confidence in this government,” Freedom and Solidarity said in a statement.

Caputova didn’t immediately comment but said in a Facebook post that Matovic came to the presidential office, signed his resignation but thought it over at the last moment and took it back from an official.

After winning the election on an anti-corruption ticket two years ago, Matovic struck a deal to govern with Freedom and Solidarity, the conservative For People party, and We Are Family, a populist right-wing group that is allied with France’s far-right National Rally party.

The government made fighting corruption a key policy issue. Since it took power after the 2020 general election, a number of senior officials, police officers, judges, prosecutors, politicians and businesspeople have been charged with corruption and other crimes.

But amid the coronavirus pandemic last year, the government collapsed as Matovic was forced to resign as prime minister after he orchestrated a secret deal to acquire 2 million doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine despite disagreement among his coalition partners.

The same four parties formed a new government under Heger, who is a close ally of Matovic’s and the deputy head of his Ordinary People party.

The current Slovak government has been donating arms to the Ukrainian armed forces while opening its border to refugees fleeing the war with Russia.

Some current opposition leaders oppose military support for Ukraine and European Union sanctions against Russia.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Ex-pop star Gary Glitter freed from UK prison

LONDON (AP) — Former pop star Gary Glitter was released from prison in England on Friday after serving half of a 16-year prison sentence for sexually abusing three young girls in the 1970s. The 79-year-old singer, whose real name is Paul Gadd, was freed from a prison in Dorset, in southwest England. It is common […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

World Health Organization employee released in Mali

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — A World Health Organization employee was released in northern Mali after being abducted by unidentified assailants, a spokesperson said Friday. Dr. Mahamadou Diawara was freed Thursday afternoon and is in Gao town, Abdoulaye Cisse, communication officer for the WHO in Mali told The Associated Press. “We are conducting the formalities to […]
1 day ago
Rebecca Mwenda, wife to Josphert Mwenda who was murdered alongside human rights lawyer Willy Kimani...
Associated Press

Former Kenyan policeman sentenced to death for murder

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A Kenyan former policeman was sentenced to death on Friday for the murder of a human rights lawyer, his client and a taxi driver. Frederick Leliman and three others were convicted of carrying out the murders in 2016, in one of a series of cases of alleged police brutality and extrajudicial […]
1 day ago
FILE - A Leopard 1 tank drives in Storkau, Germany, on May 19, 2000. Ukraine may be able to add old...
Associated Press

Ukraine may also get old Leopard 1 tanks from German stocks

BERLIN (AP) — Ukraine could add old Leopard 1 battle tanks from German defense industry stocks to deliveries of modern tanks that Berlin and other governments pledged last week to counter Russian forces in the war. German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit confirmed Friday that “export authorization has been granted” but declined to give numbers or […]
1 day ago
FILE - President Barack Obama, left, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign the New START treat...
Associated Press

NATO urges Russia to respect nuclear pact with the US

BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO called Friday on Russia to respect the only treaty it has with the United States aimed at keeping a lid on nuclear weapons expansion and urged Moscow to allow on-the-ground inspections of military sites to resume. The so-called New START Treaty was signed by Russia and the U.S. in 2010. It […]
1 day ago
This undated photo released by the Crown Prosecution Service on Friday Feb. 3, 2023, shows a crossb...
Associated Press

UK man admits treason over crossbow plot against queen

LONDON (AP) — A man who was arrested on the grounds of Windsor Castle with a loaded crossbow pleaded guilty to treason on Friday for planning to attack Queen Elizabeth II. Jaswant Singh Chail, 21, admitted to a charge under the Treason Act of intending to “injure the person of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Slovak government falls after losing no-confidence vote