In Slovakia, Prime Minister Eduard Heger switched parties a good six months before the early parliamentary elections. Together with four ministers in his cabinet and other politicians, Heger presented the new “Democratic Party” on Tuesday, which positions itself as moderately conservative, and immediately became its chairman.
Because the government has not had a majority since the coalition broke up and will be kept in office under the supervision of President Zuzana Čaputová until the election, this should not have any direct consequences for government policy. Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad’ and Foreign Minister Rastislav Káčer, among others, are moving with Heger to the Democratic Party, who, like Heger, are pursuing a European and Atlantic course and are supporting Ukraine in the fight against the aggressor Russia.
Matovič kept the reins in his hands
The clearly fragmented party landscape in Slovakia is thus enriched by yet another facet. The hope of the protagonists might be to form a kind of centre-right rallying movement. It is uncertain whether this will succeed. The former prime minister, Mikuláš Dzurinda, dropped out again during the founding phase, allegedly because promises had not been kept. There is also a split on the left that occurred in 2020. There is the nominally social-democratic Smer-SD of longtime Prime Minister Robert Fico and the split-off Hlas-SD of Fico’s successor Peter Pellegrini. Pellegrini is currently leading the polls.
Heger was previously a member of the Movement for Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OL’aNO), which is chaired by Igor Matovič, who served as finance minister until last December. Matovič won the 2020 election with this formation and initially led a four-party coalition that soon fell out over his arbitrary powers. In the spring of 2021, Matovič ceded the post of head of government to Heger, but retained the reins as party leader.
In the meantime, Matovič is at the lower end of the popularity scale in polls. Heger was unusually mild about the fact that Heger is now looking for his own political vehicle: “Edo, good luck and thank you for our common path.” This led to speculation as to whether Matovič would also exert influence in the new party.
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