The decision of Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic to purchase the Russian “Sputnik V” vaccine against the Corona virus, sparked political controversy within the government coalition, which includes 4 parties.
The Prime Minister took the decision to purchase the Russian vaccine despite calls by other political forces from within the ruling coalition to wait until the vaccine is registered by the European Medicines Agency.
Against the background of the decision, Veronika Remishova, the deputy prime minister and leader of the liberal “For the People” party, threatened to quit the government.
For his part, Minister of Economy, leader of the liberal “Freedom and Solidarity” party, Richard Solik, addressed the President of the Republic, Zuzana Chabutova, to request a cabinet reshuffle.
The two leaders met with the head of state on Wednesday. Solik said after the meeting that he was against early elections, but that the cabinet reshuffle could lead to calm.
According to the Slovak media, the meeting did not reach any final decision, but the cabinet reshuffle is still one of the options presented.
The President of Slovakia had expressed her dissatisfaction with the purchase of the Russian vaccine as well.
Among the opponents of the vaccine is Foreign Minister Ivan Korchuk, who considered the vaccine a “tool in the hybrid war” that Russia is waging against Western countries, as he claimed.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Igor Matovic defended his decision to buy the Russian vaccine, saying that “the Russians did nothing, and our coalition partners are using” Sputnik V “as a weapon to destroy the government.
He pointed out that “a hundred citizens in the republic die every day, but instead of focusing on searching for vaccines wherever possible, some politicians consider that the biggest problem in Slovakia is that we, with (Minister of Health) Marek Krachi, we found an effective vaccine.”
And he considered that other parties and politicians oppose the Russian vaccine supplies due to narrow political considerations, and because of their desire to come to power as a result of the deterioration of the situation and the fall of the current government.
Matovic mocked the allegations that Russia offered him something in exchange for agreeing to buy the vaccine, asserting: “I did not promise them anything, because they did not ask me for anything.”
It is noteworthy that Slovakia has become the second country in the European Union after Hungary, to buy the Russian “Sputnik V” vaccine against the Coronavirus, while the European Union has not officially licensed the use of the vaccine yet.
Russia has called repeatedly to avoid politicizing the issue of vaccine distribution and purchase, as some political forces in some countries have opposed buying any vaccine from Russia for political considerations.