SaS withdraws from the coalition until Matovič quits

All ministers of the junior ruling coalition party have stepped down. They urge the prime minister to depart and make way for talks.

SaS leader Richard Sulik (centre) says government reshuffles are necessary. SaS leader Richard Sulik (centre) says government reshuffles are necessary. (Source: Sme - Marko Erd)

The junior coalition party Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) will not be part of the coalition until Prime Minister Igor Matovič leaves his post.

In the latest development of the coalition crisis that has lasted since the beginning of March, two SaS ministers handed their resignation to the president. SaS thus has no ministers in the cabinet and the party leader Richard Sulík, who himself resigned as minister earlier this week, announced that the party was suspending its participation in the coalition until PM Igor Matovič leaves.

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Matovič conceded on March 21 that he was going to resign if partners meet his conditions. SaS said they would leave the coalition on March 24 if Matovič is still prime minister. They insist Matovič is the problem of the coalition and want him to resign.

A coalition of three pondered

"We are back to point zero. We will continue in the talks only after Igor Matovič files his resignation," Sulík said.

He said his party will only return to the negotiating table when a new person takes the lead of the coalition talks - the person whom President Zuzana Čaputová appoints to put together the new cabinet after Matovič resigns.

Sulík also said he did not think it was desirable to create a new cabinet position for Matovič. The OĽaNO leader has suggested he was willing to depart as prime minister if he remained in the cabinet. A new post, the deputy PM for the fight against corruption, has been mentioned. SaS concedes they may consider joining a cabinet with Matovič as a minister, but not in a newly-created position.

Related article Matovič got personal, says SaS. It does not accept the PM’s conditions Read more 

Information from within OĽaNO, as reported by the Sme daily, suggests the party may be considering a coalition of three parties, without SaS.

Observers believe this would likely lead to the break up of the junior coalition party Za Ľudí, an eventuality that poses further complications for a potential coalition of OĽaNO, Sme Rodina and Za Ľudí. In such an event, the coalition may have problems harnessing the necessary 76 votes in the parliament for its support.

Sme Rodina leader Boris Kollár said on Wednesday that if the coalition problems are not resolved within one week, his party was going to give up and support an early election in the parliament.

Remišová: Sulík and Matovič are about to break the government

Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) said in the statement that Sulík decided to knock down another government. It stated that Sulík gave preference to his own ministerial chair before the future of the country, which the movement called regrettable.

“Now, the responsibility is on us, the remaining coalition parties, to prevent attempts to break the government, to thwart this attack, find an agreement and take the country out of the political crisis,” the statement reads.

Culture Minister Natália Milanová (OĽaNO) meanwhile stated for the Sme daily that a coalition of three would also be a good solution to the coalition crisis.

She added that the resignation of three SaS ministers and one minister of Za Ľudí still did not fulfil all the conditions of PM Igor Matovič. Deputy Speaker of Parliament Juraj Šeliga of Za Ľudí and chair of health parliamentary committee Jana Bittó Cigániková of SaS have not stepped down. That’s why Matovič has not announced his decision yet, according to Milanová.

Za Ľudí Chair Veronika Remišová said that Matovič and Sulík are about to make a great mistake in their political work and break the government. She is regretful that SaS suspended its participation in the coalition. Remišová added that OĽaNO and SaS cause non-functionality of the coalition, which she considers especially irresponsible.

“The priority of Za Ľudí has always been continuing with the coalition of four and changing the position of the PM,” Remišová stated, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

Za Ľudí will do everything it can to solve the crisis because the alternative is “months of chaos, a snap election and the handing over of the country to Smer and its successor organisations".

If the coalition crisis is not solved by Monday, March 29, Za Ľudí will also leave the coalition, Remišová added.

"If the situation is not solved, there is no point in staying in a crumbling and non-functioning government,“ she told the media.

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