Slovakia Heads Toward September Snap Vote to Break Deadlock

(Bloomberg) -- Slovakia took a step closer toward early general elections aimed at ending a year-long political deadlock that triggered the government’s collapse last month.

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The euro area country of 5.4 million people will probably hold the ballot on Sept. 30, interim Prime Minister Eduard Heger said, after negotiations with his former ruling partners in Bratislava on Sunday evening.

Heger’s government fell in a December vote of no confidence amid failure by the ruling parties to agree on measures to curb the impact of an energy crisis and surging inflation. President Zuzana Caputova has said she will let Heger’s caretaker administration remain in place with limited powers until the election.

Opinion polls show parties led by two former prime ministers, Peter Pellegrini and Robert Fico, as the most popular political groups. While front-runner Pellegrini has been ambiguous on his stance on mainstream European Union issues, Fico — a three-time premier who was forced to step down in 2018 after the murder of a journalist investigating corruption — has vowed to stop weapons deliveries to Ukraine and pursue policies similar to Viktor Orban’s in Hungary.

To trigger a national vote, lawmakers must amend the constitution to shorten their term. Eduard Heger said former coalition partners will approve the necessary legislation on Tuesday.

“We will put in the constitution the possibility to shorten the electoral period and call early elections,” Heger said on Sunday.

President Caputova said that if legislators don’t approve the necessary changes by the end of January, she will revoke the government’s mandate and appoint a cabinet of technocrats.

(Updates with comment from premier starting in sixth paragraph.)

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