BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) – The Slovak government is facing another serious crisis after a junior party threatened to pull out of a four-party alliance on Wednesday over disagreements over tackling rising inflation.
The Liberal Freedom and Solidarity Party says it is no longer willing to stay in government because of Finance Minister Igor Matovich, a popular leader whose Ordinary People’s Party won the 2020 parliamentary election.
“The biggest problem of the Igor Matovic alliance is the economy,” said Richard Sullik, the economy minister and leader of Independence and Solidarity.
Sulik has often clashed with Matovich, who is considered a popular politician on how to deal with rising inflation due to high energy prices in the wake of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
Freedom and Solidarity has given Prime Minister Eduard Hager a deadline of the end of August to reshuffle his cabinet, and he will rule without Matovic, or four of his ministers will resign.
Political cartoons on world leaders
Matovic’s ordinary People’s Party has rejected that option.
“Slovakia has faced some of the most difficult times in its history,” Hager said. “Now is not the time for the fall of the government.”
After winning the election on an anti-corruption ticket two years ago, Matovich struck a deal to rule with Freedom and Solidarity, the Conservatives for the People’s Party and the Wei R Family, a popular right-wing group allied with France’s far-right. National Rally Party.
The government has made the fight against corruption a major policy issue.
But in the wake of last year’s coronavirus epidemic, it broke down because Matovic was forced to resign as prime minister after reaching a secret deal to obtain 2 million doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine, despite disagreements among his coalition partners.
The same parties formed a new government with Hager, who was a close ally of Matovic and the deputy head of his ordinary People’s Party, was appointed the new prime minister when Matovich took over as his previous finance minister in the new government.
The current Slovak government is donating weapons to the Ukrainian armed forces while opening the border for refugees.
Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.