Eduard Heger took office as Slovakia's new prime minister after President Zuzana Caputova appointed the new government on Thursday morning.
On Thursday morning, Slovak President Zuzana Caputova formally appointed Prime Minister Eduard Heger (OĽaNO - Ordinary People and Independent Personalities) and his new government in the Presidential Palace in Bratislava.
Eduard Heger takes over from Igor Matovic (OĽaNO) as prime minister, who held this post for barely a year.
The resignation of Mr Matovic was the last move to end the coalition crisis taking place in Slovakia since the beginning of March. The crisis erupted over disputes between the former premier and former economic minister Richard Sulik (Freedom and Solidarity, SaS), as well as over the procurement of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. In the wake of Slovakia's unfolding coalition crisis, five ministers have stepped down and the SaS party, headed by Mr Sulik, suspended work in the coalition.
At a press briefing on Thursday, the party chied stressed that they would not change their decision until the prime minister resigns.
The newly appointed premier, Eduard Heger, has been a member of the government for the past year. He was finance minister and acting health and education minister before taking office as Slovakia's PM. Eduard Heger is swapping seats with his party ally and former prime minister Igor Matovic, who is taking over the finance ministry.
The new cabinet has not changed in terms of the status quo between the four parties that make up the coalition government, except for only some posts having been reshuffled. Three SaS ministers have returned to their former positions: Richard Sulik as economic minister, Branislav Grohling as education minister, and Ivan Korcok as foreign minister. Former Justice Minister Maria Kolikova (For the People - Za ľudí), also returned to office. Two former ministers, Health Minister Marek Krajci (OĽaNO) and Labour Minister Milan Krajniak (We are family - Sme rodina), will continue their work as MPs. Brigadier General Vladimir Lengvarsky was appointed as health minister.
The members of the "new" cabinet are as follows:
- Prime Minister (OĽaNO) - Eduard Heger
- Minister of the Interior (OĽaNO) - Roman Mikulec
- Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister (OĽaNO) - Igor Matovic
- Minister of Defense (OĽaNO) - Jaroslav Naď
- Minister of Health (OĽaNO) - Vladimír Lengvarsky
- Minister of Culture (OĽaNO) - Natalia Milanova
- Minister of Agriculture (OĽaNO) - Jan Micovsky
- Minister of the Environment (OĽaNO) - Jan Budaj
- Deputy Prime Minister for Legislation (Sme rodina) - Stefan Holy
- Minister of Transport (Sme rodina) - Andrej Dolezal
- Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs and Minister for Economic Affairs (SaS) - Richard Sulik
- Minister of Education (SaS) - Branislav Grohling
- Minister of Foreign Affairs (SaS) - Ivan Korcok
- Deputy Prime Minister for Investment and Regional Development (Za ľudí) - Veronika Remisova
- Minister of Justice (Za ľudí) - Maria Kolikova
Addressing the newly appointed government, President Zuzana Caputova emphasized that the agreement reached between the coalition parties was only the "beginning of the road." She added that she expected a new attitude and momentum from the prime minister and more effective cooperation from the coalition members.