Although Slovakia's opposition parties are anxious to assume the reigns of power following their strong showing in national elections, the constitution gives Premier Vladimír Mečiar 30 days to call the first session of the newly elected parliament.
Furthermore, the constitution does not specify who should be called on to form a new government - the party which scored the most votes in the election, or the party with the best chance of forming a coalition. The September 25-26 elections gave Mečiar's HZDS party a narrow victory with 27%, but handed more than 60% of seats in Parliament to a broad group of opposition parties which have promised to work together.
"The speaker of the parliament can choose anyone to form the new government," said Eduard Barány, the director of the State and Law department at the Slovak Academy of Science. "The only thing that must be taken into consideration is that the new government needs at least 76 seats in the [150 seat] parliament."
While the manner of succession is not set, its time schedule is fixed by law. The constitution gives Mečiar, in his temporary capacity as President, 30 days to reconvene Parliament following the announcement of official election results. If Mečiar fails to do this before the deadline, currently October 29, the newly elected parliament can call itself into session.
"After the new parliament is convened, the present government should hand in its resignation to the speaker elected by the new parliament," said Ivan Šimko, a deputy for the opposition Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK). According to Šimko, this provision means that the present speaker of the Slovak parliament, HZDS deputy Ivan Gašparovič, should not play a role in asking for or receiving the resignation of his own party's cabinet.
Once a government has been formed, it has 30 days to submit its programme to Parliament and initiate a vote of confidence.