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Slovakia’s prime minister steps down from his post over COVID-19 crisis management

By Brooke Villanueva Published Mar 31, 2021 10:36 am

The prime minister of Slovakia stepped down from his post after catching flak not only for his move to purchase Russia’s coronavirus vaccines but also for his management of the pandemic. 

Igor Matovic sparked controversy when he took part in a secret deal early March, “involving Slovakia’s agreement to acquire 2 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine,” according to the Associated Press. “The populist prime minister orchestrated the deal despite disagreement among his coalition partners.” 

Speaking up in his own defense, Matovic previously declared that the procurement of the doses would hasten the inoculation drive “in one of the hardest-hit European Union countries,” where over 9,600 have succumbed to the virus.

Photo from Matovic's Facebook page

His resignation was accepted by President Zuzana Caputova, who later proposed finance minister Eduard Heger to take over Matovic’s position. 

"Thank you all and I ask for forgiveness of all the mistakes I have made this year," Matovic wrote in a Facebook post. "Don't worry, it will be good and you can surely trust Ed."

For his part, Heger expressed his gratitude to Matovic for all his efforts, describing the latter’s decision to quit as “a big gesture unprecedented in the Slovak politics. I hope that we will continue to work together for Slovakia.”

Article thumbnails from Matovic's Facebook page