Slovakia: switch posts and problem solved?

The Slovak government is attempting to save itself with an exchange of posts: Prime Minister Igor Matovič is vacating his seat for the former Finance Minister Eduard Heger and taking over the latter's portfolio. Matovič triggered the crisis when he purchased the Russian Covid vaccine Sputnik V without consulting his coalition partners, who then demanded his resignation. Now they have agreed to the exchange of posts instead.

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Český rozhlas (CZ) /

The key question remains unanswered

The reshuffle hasn't solved anything yet, says Český rozhlas:

“The prime minister, who has now resigned, regarded the Sputnik purchase as one of his key successes in the fight against the pandemic. But his allies went on the barricades over it. ... Until we know what is to happen with the Russian vaccine the changes in the Slovak government will remain purely cosmetic. It's by no means certain that replacing the intransigent Mr Matovič with the friendly Mr Heger, who will have his predecessor breathing down his neck at every step, will work out. It's entirely possible that another government crisis will erupt within six months.”

Polityka (PL) /

Clumsy, yes, but it did the trick

Matovič has indeed taken many liberties, Polityka comments:

“First he joked on the radio that in exchange for vaccines, Slovakia would not object to Russia's annexing Ukrainian Transcarpathia. Then he went so far as to say that his political rivals apparently have no qualms about many people dying. In addition, he publicly thanked Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for setting up contact with the Russians. ... Nevertheless, it's still possible that if the situation eases Matovič will return triumphantly and cast himself as a politician who was not afraid to take unusual measures dictated by a higher necessity.”

Denník N (SK) /

Let's get back to work

Denník N is relieved:

“The coalition is right to give things a second go. Not only does it need to correct Matovič's mistakes, it must also restore people's trust in the state and show - very quickly - that it can govern better than it did before. ... We've only just begun to overhaul the Mafia version of the state inherited from long-time Prime Minister Robert Fico. Now we must make up for lost time. And we've finally got to roll up our sleeves and get back to work. Because the coronavirus is still raging out there.”

Pravda (SK) /

Debt to society still outstanding

The change in leadership won't bring any major changes, Pravda is convinced:

“Right from the start the basic problem was Matovič's style of leadership, his failure to comply with agreements and his constant provocations. The fact that the prime minister will now be given the finance ministry instead won't do anything to change this style. ... All's well that ends well? There can be no question of that being the case here. The quest on Sunday was not for stability, but for political survival and power. The due date of this government's debt to society has only been postponed for the time being.”