Slovak PM Matovic, finance minister Heger set to swap roles

Slovakia's prime minister and finance minister are set to swap roles under an agreement backed by the ruling coalition and by the president that defuses a political crisis which erupted as the country battles its COVID-19 public health emergency. Prime Minister Igor Matovic offered on Sunday to swap roles with his finance minister, Eduard Heger, to appease his coalition partners following a series of disputes which boiled over at the start of March, when Matovic secretly ordered a shipment of Russian COVID-19 vaccines.

Reuters | Updated: 29-03-2021 22:13 IST | Created: 29-03-2021 22:02 IST
Slovak PM Matovic, finance minister Heger set to swap roles
File Photo Image Credit: Twitter(@igor_matovic)

Slovakia's prime minister and finance minister are set to swap roles under an agreement backed by the ruling coalition and by the president that defuses a political crisis which erupted as the country battles its COVID-19 public health emergency.

Prime Minister Igor Matovic offered on Sunday to swap roles with his finance minister, Eduard Heger, to appease his coalition partners following a series of disputes which boiled over at the start of March, when Matovic secretly ordered a shipment of Russian COVID-19 vaccines. "We agreed with Madam President that she will ask me to form a new government (on Tuesday)," Heger told a televised news briefing after meeting President Zuzana Caputova.

The government make-up is expected to be almost identical to the current cabinet except the swap between Matovic and Heger. The political crisis erupted as the country of 5.5 million was slowly emerging from its worst wave of the pandemic to date, which has filled up the hospitals and put Slovakia among Europe's worst-hit countries in recent weeks.

Heger, 44, was a manager and parliamentary deputy from Matovic's OLANO party from 2016 to 2020, when he took over the finance portfolio. Matovic became prime minister a year ago after he won the election on an anti-corruption platform following the murder of an investigative journalist and his fiancee in 2018. A series of investigations have started under Matovic's tenure.

Matovic's main rival in the political clashes, Richard Sulik, head of the Freedom and Solidarity party that is part of the ruling coalition, will also keep his seat in cabinet. Slovakia has received 200,000 doses of Russia's Sputnik vaccine, but has yet to start administering shots, pending testing of the batch.

It would be the second European Union country after Hungary to use Sputnik shots. The European Medicine Agency (EMA) has not yet approved the vaccine.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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