Slovakia swears in interim government of technocrats after crisis | Politics News

Bratislava has been without a proper government since a vote of no confidence was called on Prime Minister Eduard Heger.

Slovakia has sworn in a government of technocrats to lead the country to September’s snap election amid a burgeoning political crisis.

Ludovit Odor, an economist and former deputy governor of the central bank, will head the 15-member cabinet as the country’s interim prime minister.

“We won’t work miracles but you can expect us to ensure the proper functioning of the state,” Odor said on Monday.

Career diplomat Miroslav Wlachovsky will take over as foreign minister, with Martin Sklenar, a former senior defence minister, taking the lead role as defence minister.

No member of the installed cabinet will run in the upcoming election.

Slovakia's Prime Minister Ludovit Odor
Slovakia’s Prime Minister Ludovit Odor and other newly-appointed members of the government at the Presidential Palace in Bratislava, Slovakia [Radovan Stoklasa/Reuters]

Slovakia’s President Zuzana Caputova initially asked Prime Minister Eduard Heger to lead the caretaker government until early elections, but after four members gradually left their posts, Heger offered his resignation.

Caputova said she expected the cabinet to help people struggling with inflation, prepare a budget for 2024 and take steps to ensure budget sustainability.

“We are facing an epidemic of populism, lies which become the truth for some people after being repeated hundreds of times,” Caputova told the new Cabinet at its appointment ceremony.

“I expect you to be part of a counterweight to that phenomenon.”

The president also expected the new cabinet to maintain staunch support for Ukraine. Under Heger, Slovakia has given Kyiv’s forces 13 MiG-29 fighter jets and S-300 air defence systems.

Slovakia PM
Former Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger [File: Ints Kalnins/Reuters]

No-confidence vote

Bratislava has been without a proper government since December 15, when the coalition government led by Heger lost a vote of no confidence called by the opposition, following months of political issues marred by high energy costs.

But the country’s foreign policy positions may be challenged if the opposition government led by former populist Prime Minister Robert Fico wins.

Fico’s Smer party, which currently leads in opinion polls, has taken an increasingly anti-liberal and anti-Western position, contradicting Caputova’s stance.

The Smer party leader has also railed against weapons shipments to Ukraine and referred to Caputova as a puppet of the West.

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