Slovak president to meet party heads over interim government

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 14, 2011 7:04 AM
Slovak president to meet party heads over interim government

By Martin Santa

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - Slovak President Ivan Gasparovic said on Friday he would formally dismiss the fallen government of Prime Minister Iveta Radicova and meet the heads of political parties on Monday to discuss the shape of an interim cabinet.

Gasparovic met earlier with Radicova, whose government collapsed on Tuesday after failing to ratify a deal boosting the euro zone's rescue fund in a parliamentary vote that was tied to a confidence motion.

The ruling coalition later passed the measure ratifying an expansion of the European Financial Stability Facility in another vote on Thursday after securing support from the opposition by agreeing to hold an early election in March.

Radicova's cabinet will remain in office until a new administration is formed. Coalition officials have not given details on how it will operate and it is possible that it will work only in a caretaker capacity.

"I will dismiss the government and will have to name a new government," Gasparovic told journalists. "Therefore I have decided that, Monday morning, I will summon the heads of the parliamentary parties so we can decide on the next steps."

Gasparovic did not say exactly when he would dismiss the government but said he had also met with opposition leader Robert Fico, head of the leftist Smer party.

Fico has said he will stay in opposition until the election slated for March 10, which cuts the original term of the current Slovak parliament in half.

Slovakia's most popular party by far with more than 40 percent support and 62 of the chamber's 150 seats, Smer supported the EFSF but held back its vote in the first ballot because to trigger the government collapse.

The most likely scenario now is probably a minority government including Radicova's SDKU party, the Christian Democrats, and the centrist Most-Hid.

They may find support from Smer, but their former fourth coalition partner, the SaS party of free-marketeer Richard Sulik, told a Czech newspaper on Friday that he would not support them in a new administration.

"Our ministers will undoubtedly be replaced. They will be recalled. The government of three rightist parties will not have the support of SaS," Sulik said in an interview in Czech newspaper Hospodarske Noviny.

There is no time limit on when a new cabinet must be appointed. If Gasparovic does not appoint one, Radicova's administration could technically stay on as a government-in-demise in the five months until the election. Radicova has not said whether she wants to stay in her post.

(Reporting by Martin Santa,; writing by Michael Winfrey Editing by Maria Golovnina)