With His New Party, Slovak PM Embarks on a Mission to Unify

"Giving up is not a solution. It's what the mafia wants," Heger wrote on social media soon after, employing a term that Matovič's OĽaNO often uses to refer to previous governments led by Robert Fico's Smer party.

In the months leading up to the beak-up of the coalition, Heger was still siding with and defending Matovič. Case in point: he did not stop Matovič's €1.2 billion "family" package from being adopted in a fast-track legislative procedure with the support of far-right MPs last June, and he did not oppose millions of euros doled out to people to convince them to get a COVID-19 jab in the second half of 2021.

But following the murder of two queer people in October and Matovič's growing ultra-conservative views and attacks on LGBT people and President Zuzana Čaputová, whispers about Heger parting ways with his "friend" Matovič began to be heard more frequently.

For weeks, Heger went around assuring people he had a vision for Slovakia, yet wouldn't reveal anything more. And in the meantime, as head of an interim government with limited powers, Heger attempted to find a majority in parliament to avoid early elections but ultimately failed.

So it was on March 6, shortly before midnight, he wrote on social media that he had just left OĽaNO. The following day, he stood before the television cameras and presented his new political party, Demokrati (Democrats).

"Today, I stand here as leader of Demokrati, a party that wants democracy, freedom, peace, justice, tolerance and cooperation to be the most important values in Slovakia," he said confidently.

With four interim ministers, including Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď, standing behind him, alongside several other well-known OĽaNO renegades, Heger called for a return to...

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