Bratislava, March 20 (TASR) – Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini’s (Smer-SD) Government resigned on Friday evening.
Pellegrini’s resignation was accepted by President Zuzana Caputova at the Presidential Palace. On Saturday afternoon, she’s due to appoint a new cabinet, due to be headed by Igor Matovic of OLaNO, the winner of the February 29 general election, who created a landslide-majority coalition with We Are Family, Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) and For the People.
Peter Pellegrini became prime minister two years ago, after country-wide protests following the double murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée enforced the resignation of three-times premier Robert Fico (Smer-SD).
Fico’s original government, created after the general election in 2016, was composed of four parties – Smer, the Slovak National Party (SNS), Most-Hid and Network. The latter disintegrated soon thereafter, however.
Pellegrini, whose Smer has now become the strongest opposition party, is expected to be elected parliamentary vice-chairman next week.
Caputova thanked the outgoing Government on behalf of Slovakia and declared that several positive changes took place under Pellegrini’s Cabinet.
Caputova praised Pellegrini for his ability to respond promptly to a medical crisis caused by the outbreak of the new coronavirus in Slovakia. She also commended him for finding common ground with incoming premier Igor Matovic (OLaNO). Caputova voiced hope that the transfer of power will take place in the air of high political culture and in a civilised fashion, so that the “public trust in representatives of the state power won’t take a hit”.
The President conveyed her gratitude to Pellegrini for their cooperation. “In the end, I’d like to thank you for the fact that our relations as constitutional officials have always been fair, I could always trust your word and we have always communicated openly and without ulterior motives. I don’t take this for granted and I appreciate it,” she declared.
Pellegrini stated that being part of the Government and later leading it in times both good and bad was a honour. He’s also glad that he’s handing over to the new cabinet a country well-respected abroad, with many accomplishments, but also new challenges ahead.
“We were doing our utmost every day, to the best of our ability, in order to help improve life in Slovakia,” he claimed and wished many successes to the successor Government.
He also thanked Caputova for fair cooperation: “I’d like to thank you as prime minister for our brief but constructive cooperation and acknowledge the fact that we’ve managed to keep our relations as two highest constitutional officials at a high level.”