AP

Slovakia’s parliament sets early election for Sept 30

Jan 30, 2023, 7:11 PM | Updated: Jan 31, 2023, 9:23 am

Slovak President Zuzana Caputova speaks during a press conference with her Austrian counterpart Ale...

Slovak President Zuzana Caputova speaks during a press conference with her Austrian counterpart Alexander Van der Bellen in Bratislava, Slovakia, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. Slovakia’s lawmakers voted Tuesday to set a date for an early parliamentary election for September 30. (Jaroslav Novak/TASR via AP)

(Jaroslav Novak/TASR via AP)

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Slovakia’s parliament on Tuesday approved Sept. 30 as the date for an early election in the country.

Ninety-two lawmakers in the 150-seat National Council — two more than needed — voted in favor of the move that came a week after lawmakers amended the country’s constitution to make it possible to hold early elections.

The Slovak Constitution previously didn’t allow for an early election.

After the coalition government led by Prime Minister Eduard Heger lost a no-confidence vote in parliament in December, President Zuzana Caputova gave lawmakers a Jan. 31 deadline to make the needed constitutional changes and approve a date for the snap vote.

The opposition called the no-confidence vote following months of political crisis. Caputova asked Heger’s Cabinet to stay in office with reduced powers as a caretaker government.

The president had said she would select a new prime minister and swear in her government if lawmakers didn’t meet the Jan. 31 deadline.

The Sept. 30 date was supported by the parties that formed the outgoing coalition government. The opposition wanted the election to be earlier — in June or May.

The opposition would stand a good chance to win an early ballot, according to recent polls.

The outgoing 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, including former populist Prime Minister Robert Fico, oppose military support for Ukraine and European Union sanctions against Russia.

Slovakia’s next regularly scheduled parliamentary election wasn’t due to be held until February 2024.

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Slovakia’s parliament sets early election for Sept 30