Slovak Foreign Minister Resigns As Government Teeters

The cabinet of the Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovič is leaving two other ministers at the time of the government crisis. On Thursday afternoon, President Zuzana Čaputová will receive the resignations of Foreign Minister Ivan Korčák and Minister of Education Branislav Gröhling. Gröhling and the Freedom and Solidarity Party (SaS) nominated the two ministers to Prime Minister Igor Matovic’s cabinet, informed about it. SaS previously conditioned its stay in government by Matovič resigning at the latest today. Four other ministers have left the government in less than two weeks, which took office a year ago.

“I believe that this will create space for the reconstruction of the government, the whole situation calmed down and so that we can then continue within the formed government,” Gröhling, who is the vice-president of the SaS, told reporters.

The resignation of Korčko, who is on a business trip to Brussels, was announced in a press release by SaS. A two-day meeting of the foreign ministers of the North Atlantic Alliance’s member states ends today in the Belgian capital.
According to Gröhling, the SaS will comment on its further progress on Thursday after its two ministers’ resignation is accepted by the head of state.

Matovič already expressed his willingness to resign at the weekend but conditioned the step by meeting several requirements. Coalition partners of the Matovič Movement Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OLaNO) have already met some conditions. Others have rejected them. For example, the head of the economy, Richard Sulík, ended up as the economy minister. However, he opposed Matovic’s call for SaS to relinquish one of the three ministries’ leadership.

According to the Minister of Finance Eduard Heger, who some coalition politicians mention as a possible successor of Matovič in his end as prime minister, the governing parties’ agreement on how to solve the coalition crisis has not yet been reached.

“Negotiations are still ongoing. It has not been concluded which of the scenarios will be fulfilled. We are heading for a different line-up, “Heger told reporters.

According to the Slovak constitution, the prime minister’s resignation means the fall of the entire government. The parties of the current four-member coalition, which has a constitutional majority in the Chamber of Deputies, but indicate that they want to participate in creating a new cabinet. According to available information, negotiations on the coalition crisis are complicated, for example, by the issue of Sulík’s return to the new government. Regarding the coronavirus crisis, Sulík has long been in a mutual dispute with Matovič, who, according to some politicians, would like to hold the newly created position of Deputy Prime Minister for the Fight against Corruption in the next cabinet.

Matovič and President Čaputová also invited Matovič to resign. She did so on Tuesday after the resignation of Sulík and the Minister of Justice Mária Kolíková. Ministers of Health and Social Affairs have already left the government.

The government crisis in Slovakia deepened at the beginning of March when the SaS first called for the government’s reconstruction and then demanded the resignation of the prime minister.

The request for Matovič’s departure was joined by a minor government party, For the People.

According to Sulík, Matovič is not personally, communicatively, or managerially able to lead the country. Critics also blame the prime minister for his aggressive style and inability to accept differing views. In a poll, more than four-fifths of Slovaks were in favor of leaving the cabinet.