April 18. 2024. 1:37

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Slovak centre-right crumbles as PM forms new party before elections

Acting Prime Minister Eduard Heger announced he and some of his ministerial colleagues are forming a new party ahead of the September elections.

Heger announced his departure from Ordinary People and Independent Personalities on Monday night, and on Tuesday, he announced a new party called Democrats, which will also include current Environment Minister Ján Budaj, Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď, Economy Minister Karel Hirman and Foreign Minister Rastislav Káčer.

Budaj and Naď ran on the list of OĽaNO in the last elections. Hirman and Káčer were nominated by OĽaNO after former ministers Richard Sulík (Freedom and Solidarity) and Ivan Korčok, who resigned in September.

Heger and all ministers plan to stay in their current posts.

Democrats are the last of the series of new parties on the centre-right part of the political spectrum. Recently, MEP Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová announced the founding of the Jablko (Apple) party. Former Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda also announced his comeback and said he would start collecting signatures for his own party. He intends to create a large umbrella coalition

Dzurinda previously wanted to join the Spolu (Together) party, yet negotiations failed, and Spolu joined Heger and his team instead. Heger has also become its chair.

“The fact that we are standing here shows that we are joining forces. Egos go aside,” the prime minister said. “When Democrats don’t work together, when they eat each other, democracy is weakened,” Heger told a press briefing.

Snap elections are planned for 30 September.

Leading the polls are Hlas-SD and Smer-SD of two former prime ministers Peter Pellegrini and Robert Fico. Pellegrini has previously been a member of Smer-SD but later left after disagreements with Fico. At the first press briefing, Heger ruled out cooperation with both parties.

(Michal Hudec | EURACTIV.sk)