Slovakia in 2022: the battered coalition seeks to avoid early elections

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Run out of luck

Slovakia enters the New Year in a gloomy state. Many find the government’s failure to contain the spread of COVID-19 disappointing. The vaccination rate in the country has not yet crossed the 50% threshold, a figure that is among the worst in the EU. At least half of Slovaks seem hesitate, reject or hate anything related to vaccines.

Confused and often contradictory messages from the government – with its members sometimes at odds over the basic tenets of their slow vaccination strategy – have undoubtedly contributed to this widespread uncertainty. “Chaos” and “the dissolution of institutions” were hallmarks of Matovic’s reign, political scientist Juraj Marusiak recently told BIRN – and Prime Minister Heger, who took the reigns in April 2021, did not managed to right the ship, despite initial hopes. on the contrary.

Instead of uniting the company, the cosmetic substitution at the head of the cabinet has actually spurred new divisions, with Matovic resuming his showmanship from his new seat at the top of the finance ministry. The former prime minister continued to exploit the pandemic and the faltering vaccination campaign for political negotiation, further undermining public confidence in the measures adopted.

In a country already considered the most conspiratorial in Central and Eastern Europe, according to to research made by GLOBSEC, the lack of decisive leadership only adds to the turmoil. “There are so many different actors in Slovakia, from politicians to various media, who actively peddle disinformation,” GLOBSEC analyst Katarina Klingova told BIRN.

Plots have crept into the minds of so many Slovaks that they are now beginning to doubt everything and everyone. “People have lost faith in the government, the vaccines, and don’t even believe in the existence of the pandemic itself, despite the fact that dozens of people die from COVID-19 every day,” Ondrej Lunter said. , regional manager. Recount the Slovak viewer.

The gradual and societal degradation has led to talk of a possible early election which is becoming stronger day by day. Some observers suggest that the government was fortunate enough to have avoided such a climax for so long. “They could end up unlucky,” comments Peter Tkacenko underline in a podcast.

Even President Zuzana Caputova, a non-partisan figure who generally shuns political parties, criticized the government’s decision-making as well as Prime Minister Heger’s inability to appease warring factions in his cabinet. “We need stronger leadership in this crisis,” said Caputova Recount the information broadcaster TA3.

Others, however, argue that betting on impending snap elections is not justified. “No one would want to swap places with the government now. Opponents seek to seize power after the pandemic ”, sociologist Silvia Porubanova Underline at Pravda.

Outside, Prime Minister Heger is trying to radiate calm – at least for now. “I am not bothered by the polls,” he said recently Recount the daily Dennik N in reference to the emerging support of his OLaNO party.

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