In the run-up to the upcoming elections in September, the incumbent Prime Minister of Slovakia, Eduard Heger, announced that he intends to found a new party with some of his ministers.
Heger announced his departure from the centre-right Ordinary People and Independent Persons (OĽaNO) party on Monday evening and on Tuesday announced the formation of a new party called Democrats, which also includes current environment minister Ján Budaj, defense minister Jaroslav Naď, economy minister Karel Hirman and Foreign Minister Rastislav Káčer.
Budaj and Naď ran on the OĽaNO list in the last elections. Hirman and Káčer were nominated by OĽaNO to replace former ministers Richard Sulík and Ivan Korčok, who resigned in September.
Heger and all ministers want to remain in their current positions.
The Democrats are not the first party to emerge from the centre-right of Slovakia’s political spectrum.
Recently MEP Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová announced the creation of a new party. Former Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda also announced his comeback and said he would start collecting signatures for his own party. He intends to set up a grand umbrella coalition.
Dzurinda previously wanted to join the Spolu (Together) party, but negotiations failed and Spolu joined Heger and his team instead. Heger has also taken over the presidency of the party.
“The fact that we are here shows that we are joining forces. Egos are pushed aside,” said the Prime Minister. “If democrats don’t work together, if they eat each other up, democracy will be weakened,” Heger said at a press briefing.
Early elections are planned for September 30th.
The Hlas-SD and the Smer-SD of the two former Prime Ministers Peter Pellegrini and Robert Fico lead in the polls. Pellegrini was formerly a member of the Smer-SD but later left after disagreements with Fico. At the first press conference, Heger ruled out cooperation with both parties.