Bratislava, March 21 (CTK) – Slovak President Andrej Kiska will appoint current Deputy PM Peter Pellegrini as prime minister and his new government on Thursday, Kiska told reporters today.
Pellegrini will attend the EU summit on Thursday and meet European Parliament President Antonio Tajani in Brussels earlier, the Government Office said.
Kiska agreed with a new lineup of the cabinet comprised of the current coalition parties, the Smer-Social Democracy, Slovak National Party (SNS) and Most-Hid, which Pellegrini submitted to him today after the president rejected his original proposal on Tuesday.
Pellegrini, deputy chairman of Smer-SD, then gave in to Kiska in the case of a new interior minister. The post will eventually go to Tomas Drucker.
The coalition previously proposed Jozef Raz Junior, a son of the lead singer of the Elan rock band, to whom Kiska raised objections. He probably responded to the Slovak media information about friendly relations between Raz Jr and outgoing interior minister Robert Kalinak (Smer-SD deputy head).
The coalition agreed to form a new cabinet that would be headed by Pellegrini after Smer-SD chairman Robert Fico resigned as prime minister last week amid a political crisis caused by the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee in late February.
“I am not 100 percent satisfied with the new government lineup. However, as the head of state I will not cross the borderline given by the constitution and constitutional habits. Slovakia is a parliamentary democracy and a majority of the deputies to the National Council (parliament) expressed support for the government headed by Pellegrini,” Kiska said.
Under the Slovak constitution, it is up to the head of state whom he appoints as prime minister. However, the president traditionally appoints the person who can rely on a majority in parliament. Afterwards, he is obliged to appoint the government members proposed by the new PM.
Pellegrini’s government is expected to win confidence in parliament where the coalition has a majority.
Most of the current ministers will continue in the new cabinet, while six of the 15 will be replaced.
Pellegrini will be replaced as deputy PM by Smer-SD MP Richard Rasi. Current Health Ministry state secretary Andrea Kalavska will become health minister instead of Drucker who will head the Interior Ministry.
Lubica Lassakova, head of a Smer-SD regional branch, will be a new culture minister. She apologised today for her recent statements that American financier George Soros influenced the development in post-communist countries and that the Slovak nonprofit sector had too much money.
The smallest government party, Most-Hid, proposed its deputy group head Gabor Gal for a new justice minister. Outgoing Justice Minister Lucia Zitnanska (Most-Hid) announced last week that she would not continue in a new cabinet.
The new government will have to fight for public trust in the current tense situation in society, Kiska said.
The anti-government demonstrations, the biggest since the fall of the communist regime in 1989, were held in Bratislava and other Slovak towns in the past two weeks. The protesters demanded early elections. The demonstrations will continue on Friday.
The opposition has repeatedly called for early elections as a solution to the government crisis. The government parties rejected this alternative, though Most-Hid originally demanded early elections as a condition of its staying in the coalition.
The opposition anti-corruption movement Ordinary People and Independent Personalities is considering the possibility of a referendum on early elections.
The current division of forces among the coalition parties (nine seats for Smer-SD and three for each the SNS and Most-Hid) will remain unchanged in Pellegrini’s cabinet that will also accept the policy statement of Fico’s government.