Slovak election winner secures four-party coalition with cabinet deal

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) – Slovakia’s anti-corruption Ordinary People (OLANO) party, the winner of a February election, has agreed a four-party governing coalition after the parties struck a deal on cabinet seats, the parties’ leaders said on Friday.

OLANO’s coalition will dislodge the long-ruling center-left Smer party that has led the government since 2012. The parties are seeking a quick deal as the country battles the coronavirus outbreak hitting Europe and the world.

“In these difficult times we have happy news that we agreed on a government with a constitutional majority,” OLANO leader Igor Matovic said.

The parties still must agree a government program.

Matovic, 46, has sought a coalition as wide as possible to have enough seats to make potential constitutional changes, which requires three-fifths of the 150-member parliament in the European Union member state.

His coalition will hold 95 seats and comprise Sme Rodina (We are Family), a socially conservative and eurosceptic party; SaS (Freedom and Solidarity), an economically liberal party; and Za Ludi (For the People), a mildly conservative party led by former president Andrej Kiska.

Matovic did not disclose cabinet choices before he was due to present them to President Zuzana Caputova on Saturday.

He said, though, OLANO would hold the finance ministry while Richard Sulik, the leader of SaS that had wanted that office, would be economy minister.

Smer has ruled for 12 of the last 14 years and had not lost an election since 2002. But it has suffered in the last two years since the murder of an investigative journalist stoked voter anger over perceived public corruption.

An investigation unearthed communications between a businessman, who is now on trial for ordering the hit, and politicians and judicial officials. The defendant has denied the charges.

OLANO, known for publicity stunts to draw attention to alleged state corruption, is a politically amorphous, pro-EU and pro-NATO movement. It surged in polls just before the election to win a quarter of the vote.

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