After weeks of speculations, Slovak interim PM Eduard Heger’s political future is set to be clearer now. On March 6th he announced he was quitting populist OĽaNO party and in a press conference yesterday he confirmed he is taking over Miroslav Kollár’s party “Blue Coalition” (former “Together Party”) which is being renamed the “Democrats”. “I want us to keep moving in areas where we have a significant debt exceeding one electoral term, whether it’s health, education, regional development or innovation. I also want Slovakia to be part of a democratic and free world,” Heger said at the conference, where he stood together with Kollár, the Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď, the Foreign Minister Rastislav Káčer, the Foreign Ministry State Secretary Andrej Stančík, the Economy Minister of Karel Hirman and the Minister of the Environment Ján Budaj, who are joining the Democrats as well.
Though Heger’s departure from OĽaNO has been discussed for months, the PM officially confirmed it yesterday on Facebook. “I have my own vision of politics,” Heger wrote. The new political project is the result of long talks and will bring together centre-right democratic parties. The values Heger intends to defend are the protection of human rights, respect for the individual, rejection of populism and centre politics. Like the Blue Coalition, the Democrats too aims to become a platform gathering moderate parties together. Originally, the leader of the unification was supposed to be former PM Mikuláš Dzurinda, who later started to collect signatures for a new party, Blue Party – European Slovakia. Negotiations on joining with other parties are still ongoing: For the People party, the Christian Democratic Movement, Dzurinda’s Blue Party and Pavel Macko’s Civic Democrats of Slovakia might join the Democrats in the future.
Heger ruled out cooperation with the populist Smer of former PM Robert Fico, Hlas (Voice) of ex PM Peter Pellegrini, the far right Republika and ĽSNS parties, and the nationalist SNS. “We don’t want the return of the mafia, we don’t want the system of our people. In other words, we don’t want what Robert Fico and Peter Pellegrini have been building here for twelve years,” he stated. Heger did not speak out against his former party boss Igor Matovič. Hlas party called on Heger to create the conditions for the appointment of a caretaker government and to call a date for elections as soon as possible. Heger did not deliver a clear answer about the differences between the Democrats and OĽaNO. However, he said he will not stand with OĽaNO before the elections. Heger became PM in April 2021 after SaS and For the People forced Matovič to resign.
(Published on amedeogasparini.com)