Unfavourable situation prompts calls for the PM and health minister to resign

It does not appear coalition representatives have discussed potential replacements, though.

PM Igor Matovič (l) and Health Minister Marek Krajčí face calls for stepping down.PM Igor Matovič (l) and Health Minister Marek Krajčí face calls for stepping down. (Source: TASR)

In light of the unfavourable situation with the coronavirus pandemic in Slovakia, PM Igor Matovič and Health Minister Marek Krajčí (both OĽaNO) have faced multiple calls to resign.

Nothing suggests that either of them will do so, though.

Both coalition and the opposition

On February 17, opposition MP and leader of the non-parliamentary Hlas party of Smer renegades, Peter Pellegrini, called on the entire government to step down and on President Zuzana Čaputová to appoint a caretaker government.

Some calls for resignation came from people who have recently departed the coalition, including MEP Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová, who left SaS, and more recently MP Miroslav Kollár of Za Ľudí, the first MP to leave the coalition and his party caucus.

As he did so on February 17, he said Matovič should step down as head of the government.

“He bears the main political and personal responsibility,” Kollár wrote, blaming the PM for the flawed strategy and timing of the measures, the chaos and also what he called the PM’s “absurd love for nationwide testing.”

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It does not appear coalition representatives have discussed potential replacements, but President Zuzana Čaputová considers the question of drawing political consequences legitimate.

“It’s necessary to reflect on this situation,” she said, as quoted by the Sme daily.

Krajčí does not plan to step down

Meanwhile, SaS MP Jana Bittó Cigániková has criticised Krajčí for his recent steps. She particularly slammed the new ordinance, effective from March 1, 2021, that prevents women older than 40 years from being reimbursed from public health insurance for abortions.

In her opinion, Krajčí should stop “forcing upon all of Slovakia his religious beliefs” and instead start dealing with Covid-19, as reported by the TASR newswire.

The change has also been criticised by the Citizen, Democracy and Responsibility (ODZ) non-governmental organisation that called on the minister to stop violating the sexual and reproductive rights of women.

Related articleSlovakia tests a million people each week yet fails to contain coronavirus spread Read more 

Deputy chair of the OĽaNO caucus Richard Vašečka responded that they will propose to remove Bittó Cigániková from the post of the parliamentary health committee chair.

Apart from her, former health ministers who served in the Smer-led governments, Richard Raši, Tomáš Drucker and Andrea Kalavská, have called on Krajčí to step down, too.

Krajčí said he is doing his utmost to protect the health and lives of people.

“We perceive the calls for resignation at the time of the pandemic as an attempt to grab public attention,” his ministry spokesperson Zuzana Eliášová wrote in an official statement, adding that rash personnel changes will not help anything.

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