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Early Elections Coming in Slovakia in September

Hungary Today 2023.01.24.
Outgoing Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger.

Although the Acting Slovak Prime Minister recently said that he did not want to hold early elections, this now seems to be changing. According to a report by Slovak daily Denník N, early elections are to be held on September 30 in Slovakia, which is currently in a government crisis after the government faced a motion of no confidence.

The early election date was announced by Acting Prime Minister Eduard Heger on Sunday evening after talks with his former coalition partners. He said that coalition members had all agreed to the September election and had also agreed that 90 votes are still needed to change the electoral system and call for early elections.

Finance Minister and former Prime Minister Igor Matovic had previously claimed that if the Smer and Hlas parties came to power, they would change the electoral system. Indeed, the Social Democratic Smer initiated a referendum in a bid to lower the number of votes needed from MPs to call an early election from 90 to 76. However, the referendum was not valid, and so came the agreement of the parties to keep up the 90-vote rule.

The united Hungarian party in Slovakia, Alliance, has also spoken out about the referendum. In a Facebook post, they wrote that the referendum showed that voters consider it unacceptable for a political party to abuse the institution of the referendum. They said that voters from the Hungarian community had a similar attitude to Saturday’s referendum, with turnout in the southern districts by far the lowest.

The united Hungarian party has been saying since September that the issue of calling early elections can and should be resolved in parliament. We continue to call for this solution, the amendment of the Constitution, they wrote. They added that the current government has lost its credibility and its parliamentary majority, and the failed referendum does not change this.

Last December, there was a vote of no confidence in Slovakia, when after the collapse of the coalition with the liberals of Richard Sulík (SaS), 78 of of the 150 MPs voted against the government.

Last week, President of Slovakia, Zuzana Caputová, called on the government of Eduard Heger to present a plan in which they could steer the current parliament into the next elections in 2024, or to schedule early elections.

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It previously seemed that Prime Minister Eduard Heger had decided to play the long-game and try to win back the liberals’ support for his minority government until the next elections. At a press conference last week, Acting Prime Minister Eduard Heger and Finance Minister Igor Matovic made it clear that they did not want early elections. Matovic said that

were they to allow early elections this year, these would be the last free elections in Slovakia.

He even managed to criticize Hungary, saying that Slovakia could slip into a Hungarian system, where there are elections held, yet the system is set up so that the same party always wins.

A lot of time and words could be spent on refuting Matovic’s opinion, however, it could be said that of the two neighboring countries, Hungary is not the one where there seems to be a government crisis almost every year, and where a party is clinging to power in a minority government after a no confidence vote in parliament.

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Featured photo via Facebook/Eduard Heger

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