Why Slovakia’s number rarely comes up

Matovič’s lottery shows – again – what happens when anti-system politicians are allowed to rule the country.

Lottery for the vaccinated airs on the public-service RTVS. Lottery for the vaccinated airs on the public-service RTVS. (Source: Facebook RTVS)

Welcome to your weekly overview of news from Slovakia. The lottery for the vaccinated generates outrage, and Matovič pours oil on the fire. The national police chief faces charges. Prime Minister Heger states that Crimea is part of Ukraine.

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Matovič makes a U-turn on the lottery

“The number of newly vaccinated [people] is not even increasing in connection with the visit of the Pope to Slovakia, so how could a lottery possibly compare itself with the Pope?” asked OĽaNO leader Igor Matovič, in his latest defence of his own pet project, the lottery for the vaccinated.

He is right in that the mid-September visit of Pope Francis, which involves the biggest mass events in Slovakia since the outbreak of the pandemic, does not seem to have inspired many hesitant people to finally get their jabs. Only fully vaccinated people will be allowed to participate in events that are part of the papal visit, a condition that has deepened the discord over vaccination among Catholics, and has been cited as one reason why the capacity of the events will not be met by some considerable margin (the highlight of the visit, the Pope’s visit to the pilgrimage site at Šaštín, is being planned for up to 350,000 people, but only tens of thousands have registered so far).

But there is no reason why the lottery and the referral programme might indeed aspire to achieve more success – and by success we mean an increase in the number of vaccinated – than the papal visit.

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