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Slovak Prime Minister resigns over Russian vaccine scandal


Slovakia currently has the third highest death rate in Europe from coronavirus

Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic.JOE CLAMARAFP
  • Live Coronavirus, last minute

The Prime Minister of Slovakia, Igor Matovic, today resigned to close a political crisis triggered by his decision to buy Russian coronavirus vaccines without consulting his coalition partners. The president, Zuzana Caputova, commissioned the current Finance Minister, Eduard Heger, Matovic’s co-religionist in the populist party “Gente Corriente” (OLaNo), to form a new government, according to the TA3 network.

The political earthquake, which has lasted for several weeks and led to the resignation of six Slovak Cabinet ministers, occurs amid a serious health situation due to the pandemic, with Slovakia among the three countries of the European Union (EU) with the highest mortality by Covid in the last two weeks.

Matovic, much questioned by his coalition partners after buying 2 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine behind their backs, announced on Sunday that I was willing to leave office, the condition demanded by his partners to continue in the tetrapartite coalition that has governed the country for a year.

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The populist president is considered the cause of the political earthquake that the Central European country is experiencing, in the midst of a very virulent third wave of the Covid pandemic. Slovakia currently has the third highest death rate in Europe, with 217 deaths per million inhabitants, behind the Czechs and Hungarians. The erratic management of the coronavirus crises in the second wave last fall, with a divided government on the strategy to follow, culminated in Matovic’s unilateral decision – by fait accompli – to acquire the Russian vaccine.

This measure triggered a process of disintegration of the Government, from which six ministers resigned in a few weeks, while the liberal partner Libertad y Solidaridad (SaS) temporarily suspended his participation in the cabinet, with the announcement that he will return as soon as Matovic stops leading the ruling coalition.

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