Sme Rodina conditions its stay in coalition, PM will most likely remain

Outcome of recent meeting of coalition leaders not clear yet.

Igor Matovič (l) and Boris Kollár during the March 10 coalition council meeting.Igor Matovič (l) and Boris Kollár during the March 10 coalition council meeting. (Source: TASR)

To either meet five demands or leave the ruling coalition. This was the main message of the second strongest party in the government, Sme Rodina of Boris Kollár, before the March 10 meeting of the coalition council, at which the parties were expected to discuss the current political situation.

The coalition crisis fully erupted last week, after representatives of Za Ľudí and Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) asked for several changes of cabinet posts, pointing to failure to manage the pandemic. The two names mentioned were Health Minister Marek Krajčí and PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO).

Sme Rodina took one week before its leadership met. While it does not want any reshuffles and wishes for the four-party government to complete its four-year term, it has five conditions: one-off financial assistance for people suffering from the crisis, a deferral of loan instalments and payments for utilities, a delay of distrainment proceedings, compensation in the amount of €100 million for the tourism and gastronomy sectors, and the delivery of five FFP2 respirators to every person for free. The state would pay more than €100 million for the measures.

Related articleThe fate of the coalition remains unclear after evening meeting Read more 

“If they aren’t fulfilled, we’ll leave the coalition,” Kollár said, as quoted by the Sme daily.

The results of the coalition council meeting are not clear yet. The Denník N daily reported, though, that Matovič will most probably remain in his post.

A change in attitude

Sme Rodina was the third-strongest party after the 2020 general election, with 8.24 percent of the vote. Yet its popularity has been falling. In the recent Focus poll, its popularity was as low as 5.2 percent, close to the 5-percent election threshold.

“It’s a shrewd move,” Pavol Baboš, political analyst of Comenius University, told Sme. “To profit from the crisis, they brought these requirements to the table and will now watch who from the coalition will be willing to support them. They can then support them in return.”

Meanwhile, SaS slightly altered its requirements. The party will not insist on removing Matovič, and Krajčí’s departure will be enough for them, Sme wrote.

Related articleEnd of Matovič government not ruled out as post-Sputnik crisis continues Read more 

OĽaNO has repeated that it supports both the prime minister and the health minister. If Krajčí leaves, the party asks for the removal of Richard Sulík, SaS chair, from the post of economy minister, Sme reported.

Za Ľudí remains in the worst position, according to Sme, as it has already lost two MPs, and others may follow suit. The party will lose its caucus if the number of members drops below eight.

This may result in the end of the coalition, and the party losing its cabinet members, Sme reported.

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