V4 country could cancel contract with Russia to buy Sputnik jabs

The prime minister shared this information on social media on Thursday morning.

HOT MARCH 4. 2021 11:12

The manufacturer of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine is willing to cancel its contract for two million jabs with Slovakia as of today, Igor Matovic posted on Facebook on Thursday morning. Ths Slovak prime minister (OĽaNO) also disclosed that he received the official offer from the drugmaker last night and the withdrawal would entail no sanctions.

Slovakia s premier called on the coalition partners to take a clear position regarding the procurement as soon as possible, preferably today. However, withdrawing from the contract would be “the biggest mistake we could make”, he stressed in his latest post. 

As V4NA reported earlier, the procurement of the Russian vaccine led to a crisis in Slovakia s multi-party coalition government. According to Za ľudí (For the People), the smallest coalition partner and its chief Veronika Remisova, buying the Sputnik V vaccine was a move orchestrated independently by the prime minister and the health minister. PM Matovic refuted the accusation, saying Health Minister Marek Krajci did receive the party s consent concerning the procurement of the Russian jab.

According to economy minister Richard Sulik (SaS), the government should be reshuffled in order to resolve that are clearly the coalition s current problems that have become palpable. Mr Sulik said PM Matovic appears unsuitable for the post of prime minister and therefore his replacement is something to be considered.

The idea of restructuring the government is also backed by Za ľudí. After the coalition council s meeting on Wednesday, party president and deputy PM Veronika Remisova confirmed that the topic is on the table. It is, however, in the interest of all partners to maintain the coalition, she added.

Yesterday PM Matovic posted a video message on Facebook asking members of the government not to politicise the issue amidst the ongoing health crisis and not to use the procurement of the Russian jab as a pretext to overthrow the government.

In the video Mr Matovic also stressed that he felt responsibie for the procurement of vaccines, because the jabs could save the lives of many of his compatriots.

Following the coalition council s session on Wednesday, House Speaker Boris Kollar, also the chairman of Sme Rodina, the fourth coalition partner, said: “We are willing to negotiate about some form of government restructuring. However, we strongly reject its dissolution or a call for snap elections.” He also underlined that no one had called for Mr Matovic to resign during Wednesday s cabinet meeting, and his potential replacement did not come up, either.

Slovakia s prime minister finished Wednesday s proceedings by sharing a mysterious post:

“Tomorrow we will experience pleasant surprises. Good night,” he wrote. Whether he meant an offer from the Russian manufacturer, a change affecting the government, or something completely different remains to be seen.

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Tags:

coalition, covid-19, crisis, igor matovic, Slovakia, sputnik v, v4, vaccine