Slovak coalition agreement signed

By bne IntelliNews March 22, 2016

Slovkia's ruling Smer party has signed an agreement with The Slovak National Party (SNS), Most-Hid and Siet to finalise the new governing coalition, local media reported on March 22.

The agreement officially puts to bed the deadlock in Slovak politics following the inconclusive March 5 election. However, there are serious questions over the likely stability of the coalition.

Smer, which prior to the elections held a single party majority in parliament, failed to gain enough votes to form a government on its own. President Andrej Kiska gave Prime Minister Robert Fico a ten-day deadline to find coalition partners and form a government. Fico managed to seal a deal with the three parties, despite efforts from Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), which came second in the elections, to form a governing coalition that would exclude Smer. 

Despite successfully scrambling to seal an agreement and remain in the PM's office - as well as retaining the majority of the important iminstries, Smer still faces an uphill battle to govern in the longer term. The coalition looks fragile, and some analysts suspect it might not make it past six months. A number of members have already left the smaller parties, unhappy with the participation in the coalition. 

“While the leadership of both the Net [Siet] and the Bridge [Most-Hid] will have a strong interest in avoiding early elections, the ongoing turmoil within these parties suggests that they will likely gradually lose support from individual MPs. Nevertheless, the majority will most probably hold through the period of the Slovak presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of this year,” Teneo Intelligence commented on March 22.

Fico will remain the country’s prime minister, starting his third mandate in the top seat. Five current ministers will keep their posts in the new government: Peter Kazimir as finance minister, Robert Kalinak as interior minister, Miroslav Lajcak as foreign minister, Marek Maaric as culture minister and Jan Richter as labour minister.

Slovak Post general director Tomas Drucker will become health minister, while current environment minister Peter Ziga will take over the economy portfolio, TASR news agency reports.

SNS has nominated Peter Gajdos as defence minister, Gabriela Matecna as agriculture and regional development minister, and Peter Plavcan as education minister. Most-Hid has nominated Laszlo Solymos as environment minister and Lucia Zitnanska as justice minister, while future transport minister Roman Bercely will be Siet's only representative in the new cabinet.

The Slovak opposition will be made up of SaS, the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OLaNO), the extreme rightwing People’s Party Our Slovakia (LSNS) and Sme rodina (We Are Family).

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