Slovak coalition crumbles as pressure on PM to resign rises





Slovakia's Prime Minister Igor Matovic arrives at the EU headquarters' Europa building in Brussels on December 10, 2020, prior to a European Union summit.
(YVES HERMAN / POOL / AFP)

The political turmoil over the purchase of Russian coronavirus vaccines is tearing apart Slovakia’s ruling coalition and increasing pressure on the prime minister to resign.

A junior coalition party “suspended” its membership in the ruling alliance on Thursday until Prime Minister Igor Matovic steps down and allows a wider government reshuffle. Matovic’s party still formally holds a majority with two other groups in parliament, though the legislature has been paralyzed since the crisis broke out three weeks ago.

A junior coalition party “suspended” its membership in the ruling alliance on Thursday until Prime Minister Igor Matovic steps down and allows a wider government reshuffle

The center-right Freedom and Solidarity party pulled its three ministers from the 16-member cabinet this week, bringing the total number of resignations to six this month. Its leader, Richard Sulik, said Thursday that he’s against early elections.

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The slow-motion government disintegration is unfolding as the European Union and NATO member suffers from one of Europe’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreaks.

The ruling alliance had been continually rocked by infighting and personal disputes since taking power. It did, however, still manage to enact a wide anti-corruption sweep of the police, the judiciary and business circles.

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