Slovakia's President Zuzana Caputova's speaks to the media as she comes with a humanitarian aid, after Russia launched a m...

Slovak leader sets framework for early election after coalition government collapses

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Slovakia’s president formally dismissed the country’s government on Friday, a day after it lost a no-confidence vote in Parliament, and set the framework for holding an early election by mid-2023.

President Zuzana Caputova gave Parliament a deadline by the end of January to amend the Constitution, which would make a snap election possible.

Caputova said the ballot should then take place in the first half of 2023.

“I personally will do all I can to contribute to the country’s orderly transition to an early election,” Caputova said.

Slovakia’s coalition minority government led by Prime Minister Eduard Heger fell Thursday after losing the no-confidence vote called by the opposition following months of political crisis.

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Several opposition and coalition parties have indicated they would prefer an early election as a way out of the crisis. A two-thirds parliamentary majority would be needed to make that happen.

“In the case that a decision about the early ballot is not made by the given term, I will take the (necessary) steps in line with the Constitution,” Caputova said.

That means she would select a new prime minister and swear in his or her government.

At the same time, Caputova asked Heger’s Cabinet to stay in office with reduced powers as a caretaker government.

Slovakia’s next regularly scheduled parliamentary election is not until February 2024.

Heger’s government has firmly stood by Ukraine amid the Russian invasion, donating arms to the Ukrainian armed forces while opening its border to refugees.

Some current opposition leaders oppose military support for Ukraine and European Union sanctions against Russia.

The opposition would stand a good chance to win a snap ballot, recent polls suggested.