Economics Minister Karol Česnek and Social Affairs Minister Olga Keltošová submitted their resignations on February 19 to Slovak President Michal Kováč, presidential spokesman Vladimir Štefko said.
Štefko said that neither of the two resignation letters included any reason for leaving. He added that Kováč would not be able to consider them before February 23 because of illness.
A source close to Česnek said that "the Minister has wanted to resign for over a month, but he was just waiting until he could be sure of a suitable replacement." The story of Česnek's departure had first been broken by vice premier Sergei Kozlík on January 24, and then confirmed by HZDS spokesman Vladimír Hagara. "Kozlík made it sound as if the government wanted Česnek out, but it was actually the other way around," the source said.
Česnek is not a member of any party while Keltošová is a senior member of Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS).
The government also asked Kováč on February 19 to name Milan Čagala, whose party affiliation was not immediately known, to the economics portfolio and Vojtech Tkač, a member of HZDS, take over social affairs. Cagala is currently head of the Slovak Engineering Association, while Tkač is deputy minister of social affairs.
Štefko said Mečiar had also proposed meeting Kováč in the last week of February to discuss changes in the government.
Additional reporting by The Slovak Spectator
26. Feb 1998 at 0:00 | Reuters