Slovakia: Čaputová appoints caretaker government

A new chapter has begun in Slovakia's government crisis: in the wake of several resignations, interim Prime Minister Eduard Heger sought to save parts of his cabinet, but now President Zuzana Čaputová has announced the formation of a government of experts under Ľudovít Ódor, currently Vice-Governor of the National Bank of Slovakia, which will lead the country until parliamentary elections take place on 30 September. Heger resigned as PM after Čaputová's decision.

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Pravda (SK) /

President should make the most of the attention

With the expert government the head of state will automatically be in the spotlight, Pravda stresses:

“Zuzana Čaputová has chosen Ľudovít Ódor, a first-rate politician, as prime minister. But she also needs to defend her government effectively, which puts her at the centre of the political battle. All this is risky, but also potentially highly rewarding for her. The new non-partisan government will have to be prepared for attacks from politicians. But with the right strategy it can show that it is possible to govern sensibly, without unnecessary conflict and chaos. There is enough time for it to set an example of good practice.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Reliable partner no more?

A return of the old guard led by former prime minister Robert Fico would be a problem not just for Slovakia but also for the EU, warns the Süddeutsche Zeitung:

“For although the government that has now stepped down is leaving chaos and political disenchantment in its wake, only recently it was a key committed partner on aid for Ukraine. The country took in refugees and sent missile defence systems and fighter planes. Fico, on the other hand, spreads pro-Russian propaganda. ... The expert will give the population some breathing space until the new elections on 30 September. But there is no sense of a new beginning. And hardly anyone dares to hope for that at the moment.”

Sme (SK) /

A justified if risky decision

Although inevitable, the decision was not easy for the president, Sme comments:

“For President Čaputová, appointing a caretaker government is an extremely difficult step as it effectively removes power from the political parties. ... Čaputová has been the target of verbal attacks for some time now, and this will only intensify now - at a time when she has to decide whether or not to run for office again. ... The reality, however, is that Slovakia is in such a deep governmental and constitutional crisis that it was necessary to appoint an interim government in a bid to calm the situation before the parliamentary elections.”

Denník N (SK) /

Humiliating for Heger

The end of the interim government was triggered by a corruption case, which is particularly embarassing, says Denník N:

“This government was formed three years ago due to a popular revolt against corruption during the Robert Fico era. Now it's ending after a corruption scandal in which one minister asked another for a subsidy for his company and the latter gave it to him. It's hard to imagine a more humiliating situation. But Heger's disgrace has far bigger dimensions: his party, the Democrats, was supposed to help ensure that democracy was not defeated head-on by Fico and the fascists in the September elections. Heger has now helped to make this scenario less likely.”