Slovak Prime Minister Steps Down Over Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine Deal Scandal

Slovak Prime Minister Steps Down Over Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine Deal Scandal

The political crisis in Slovakia has forced Slovakia’s Prime Minister Igor Matovic to resign from his post. A Russian vaccine – the Sputnik V coronavirus purchased in a controversial move caused the political crisis.

After a meeting with President Zuzana Caputova on Tuesday, the Slovakian government confirmed that the resignation had been submitted. And now, there is the need for a new regime to continue running the Slovak government.

Eduard Heger, who was previously vice prime minister and minister of finance, has been assigned to form a new government to avoid early elections. According to the government, the new appointment has been approved by Slovakia’s coalition partners. 

On Monday, the government also released a statement that confirmed President Caputova would accept Prime Minister Igor Matovic resignation to pave the way for the new government. 

A decision concerning the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the first European government to collapse – Slovakia.

In a political scandal triggered by the purchase of a Sputnik V vaccine for the coronavirus, Matovic announced that he would step down on Sunday. A crisis erupted after Slovakia PM purchased 2 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia in secret.

Besides Prime Minister Matovic stepping down, it has been reported that six cabinet members have already resigned.

The European Union has not yet permitted the Russian vaccine to be used in Slovakia, an EU member country.

Although the Freedom and Solidarity party and For People party, who forms part of Matovic’s coalition, did not agree with the deal, the Sputnik V vaccine was purchased.

Matovic didn’t come to his decision of resigning that fast. He had tried several of his available options to see whether he could stick around at the Slovakia government. On Tuesday, the government said Matovic had dropped his demands to his partners on swapping posts with the finance minister.

The Sputnik V purchases have always been justified by Matovic, who claims that it would accelerate the vaccination program in one of Europe’s most hard-hit countries. The move has enraged critics since it casts doubts on Slovakia’s pro-Western stance.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, the former prime minister wrote that it was “an honor” to serve in office.

A majority coalition government with three other moderate and right-wing parties was formed by the Ordinary People (OĽaNO) party’s leader. He was later appointed as the prime minister in March 2020.

For his campaign against corruption in Slovakia, Matovic’s anti-corruption group, OĽaNO, has been praised and supported.

In addition to the Sputnik V secret deal, opposition parties have claimed that Matovic mishandled the coronavirus pandemic.

Matovic resignation came with specific demands. Justice Minister Maria Kolíkova from the For People party and Freedom and Solidarity leader Richard Sulik must also resign. And they both did, making him tender his resignation as the Slovak PM.

Despite beginning the first wave of COVID-19 without severe case numbers, the country’s death rate is now the second-highest in the EU. Slovakia purchased vaccine doses from Russia as the EU’s second member, after Hungary.

Rachel Lott is a Reporter for Chroniclex After graduating from Cuyahoga Community College, Rachel got an internship at USA Evening and worked as a Reporter and Producer. Rachel has also worked as a Reporter for WKYC TV and Fox News Channel. Rachel Covers International Developments.

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