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Slovak government buys time after no-confidence vote delayed


Slovak government buys time after no-confidence vote delayed By Reuters

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Economy 1 hour ago (Dec 13, 2022 12:31)

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Slovakian Prime Minister Eduard Heger listens during a news conference in Tallinn, Estonia November 11, 2022. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo

(Reuters) -Slovakia’s minority government gained a temporary reprieve on Tuesday as lawmakers delayed a no-confidence vote till Thursday, giving Prime Minister Eduard Heger time to win over supporters or negotiate exit options, including a possible early election.

Holding an election before the scheduled date in 2024 could affect Slovakia’s support for neighbouring Ukraine, particularly if it brings to power the leftist opposition, which currently leads opinion polls and is critical of military aid to Kyiv.

Heger’s coalition took power in 2020 but has been weakened by the departure of a junior party in September.

Losing a vote of confidence would not immediately end the government, which would stay on for a time in a caretaker capacity, but would severely cripple policymaking.

Heger has also so far failed to win lawmakers’ approval for the 2023 budget plan, which includes new spending to offset the impact of soaring energy prices on households and companies.

The opposition must secure at least 76 votes in the 150-seat parliament to bring down the government.


Opposition groups – including the libertarian SaS party that quit Heger’s coalition in September – filed the no-confidence motion after accusing the government of doing too little to help people cope with the higher energy costs.

Several independent lawmakers whose votes are critical for Heger lined up to criticise his government on Tuesday, highlighting the risk of it falling.

SaS left the government after months of clashes between its chairman and former Economy Minister Richard Sulik, and Finance Minister Igor Matovic, who is also Heger’s party chief.

Heger has said his government should stay to steer the country, a member of the European Union and NATO, through these tough times, noting that energy prices for many Slovaks will jump in January as their fixed tariffs expire at year-end.

If the government falls, President Zuzana Caputova could either allow the cabinet to remain in place for some time or appoint a new, possibly technocrat cabinet.

However, several parties have sought an early election, though this would require legislative changes.

“The only solution to this crisis is an early election in the first half of next year,” the head of opposition party Smer, former prime minister Robert Fico, told a televised briefing.

Fico also rejected what he said were government offers to bring the election forward to September 2023.

Slovak government buys time after no-confidence vote delayed

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