Igor Matovic holds up a sign listing all those that he accuses for the collapse of his government: Maffia (i.e. the two largest opposition parties), Fascists (Slovak Eurosceptics), liberals and MPs he accuses of being “bought”.
During a press conference in Bratislava the Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger and Finance Minister Igor Matovic took the stand to explain why they are refusing to allow early elections to be held even though their government had recently lost a no confidence vote. In his reply, Matovic could not resist a jab against Hungary in order to justify his clinging to power.
On Wednesday President of Slovakia Zuzana Caputová has 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. This was a reaction to the mid December vote of no confidence, when after the collapse of the coalition with the liberals of Richard Sulík (SaS), 78 of of the 150 MPs have voted against the government.
In most Western-style democracies losing a vote of no confidence would be followed by the resignation of the governing administration, yet 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. Clearly uncomfortable and cornered by journalists during the press conference on Wednesday, he had ceded the microphone to his more dominant and articulate colleague, Finance Minister, and former PM Igor Matovic.
Matovic’s argument for avoiding early elections was that were they to allow early elections this year, these would be the last free elections in Slovakia. In his view,
the country could slip into a Hungarian system, where there are election held, yet the system is set up so that the same party always wins.
Apart from his low esteem for Hungarian democracy, the minister seems to have little to no confidence towards Slovakian democracy either. The minister’s near-cringe worthy explanation for clinging to power will confuse few in the country, given his government’s shambolic reaction to a vote of no confidence, after surviving for months in a minority government and crucially, collapsing to 7 percent in the polls from the 25 percent they have won with in the 2020 elections.
As to what he called a “Hungarian system”, the ruling Fidesz and KDNP are not the only parties in Europe with an unbroken record of a decade-long governance. The British Conservatives have been in power since 2010, the same year that the government of Viktor Orbán had won the elections. Whether the Slovak model, where a party formed only months before the 2020 elections is clinging to power in a minority government after a no confidence vote in parliament, and after a collapse in public support is a model that has more democratic credentials than the Hungarian one, will no doubt be answered if Slovak voters will finally get a chance to have their say at the next elections.
Featured Photo: Facebook Igor Matovic