PRAGUE – The political crisis in Slovakia worsened on Wednesday after a member of the ruling coalition demanded a cabinet reconstruction.
The crisis was sparked by a secret agreement to acquire the Russian vaccine against the Sputnik V coronavirus orchestrated by the country’s prime minister despite the disagreement between his coalition partners.
Richard Sulik, leader of the Freedom and Solidarity party, said the situation within the coalition is so serious that “we can hardly continue on this path”.
“It is obvious that we have failed to fight the pandemic,” Sulik said. His party has said unspecified changes in government are needed for the coalition to continue.
Sulik has often clashed with Prime Minister Igor Matovic over how to tackle the pandemic, but the current crisis is the most serious problem the coalition has faced.
Matovic has defended the deal to acquire 2 million Sputnik V vaccines, saying it will speed up the vaccination program in one of the European Union countries hardest hit by the pandemic.
But it was condemned by Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok, who was appointed to the post by Sulik’s party and who said the vaccine was a tool in Russia’s hybrid war against the West. Korcok said the purchase cast doubts on his country’s clear pro-Western direction.
Another coalition partner, the For People party, did not rule out the possibility of leaving the coalition.
The leader of this party, Deputy Prime Minister Veronika Remisova, said that any vaccine must be approved …
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