BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — The Slovak government is facing another serious crisis after a junior party threatened Wednesday to pull out of the four-party coalition over disagreements over how to deal with rising inflation .
The liberal Freedom and Solidarity party has said it is no longer willing to be in government because of Finance Minister Igor Matovic, a populist leader whose Ordinary People’s Party won the 2020 parliamentary elections.
“Igor Matovic is the coalition’s biggest problem,” said Economy Minister Richard Sulik, leader of Liberty and Solidarity.
Sulik has often clashed with Matovic, seen as a populist politician, over how to tackle soaring inflation driven by high energy prices in a context the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Freedom and Solidarity gave Prime Minister Eduard Heger until the end of August to reshuffle the Cabinet and govern without Matovic or his four ministers resigning.
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Matovic’s ordinary people’s party rejected this option.
“Slovakia has gone through the most difficult period in its history,” Heger said. “Now is not the time for the government to fall.”
After winning the election on an anti-corruption ticket two years ago, Matovic struck a deal to govern with Liberty and Solidarity, the conservative For the People party, and We Are Family, a right-wing populist group allied with Israel. French extreme right. National Rally Party.
The government has made the fight against corruption a key political issue.
But amid the coronavirus pandemic last year, it fell apart when Matovic was forced to resign as prime minister after orchestrating a secret deal to acquire 2 million doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine. despite disagreement among its coalition partners.
The same parties formed a new government with Heger, who is a close ally of Matovic and deputy leader of his Ordinary People’s Party, appointed as the new prime minister while Matovic assumed his former position as finance minister in the new government.
The current Slovak government has donated arms to the Ukrainian Armed Forces while opening its border to refugees.
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