The fall of the Slovakian government is raising some interesting questions.
The first is what to do about the interim government? The election is scheduled for March. In the meantime, should there be a technical government, should there be a new government, or should the existing government remain in office? No-one wants a technical government. There seems to be little desire for the current opposition Smer party to try to form a new government. Presumably, this is because it is doing well in the polls. Better to have an election as an opposition party than to be seen as the incumbent party. So, this leaves the third option. However, the constitution seem to make this option impossible. Art. 115 states: “If the President of the Slovak Republic accepts the Government’s resignation, he will entrust it with the execution of its duties until a new Government is appointed.”. However, no government is being appointed. There is going to be an election. So, what to do between now and the election?
The solution is a constitutional amendment! The Slovak Spectator is reporting that the parties have agreed to pass a constitutional amendment that will allow PM Radičová’s government to remain in office until the election.
A related question concerned who should represent Slovakia at the upcoming EU summit. The absence of a government led President Gašparovič to volunteer to represent the country. This proposal was supported by Robert Fico, the Smer leader, who supported the ‘independent’ Gašparovič in his presidential re-election campaign. However, PM Radičová wanted to represent Slovakia, even though she has resigned and her resignation has been accepted. She said that Gašparovič should not represent Slovakia because he did not speak English and there might be problems with interpreters in closed meetings.
Anyway, it seems as if the constitutional deal has ended the confusion or politicking. Given a way has been found to allow Radičová to stay on, then she will represent Slovakia. However, we can add this episode to previous presidential/prime ministerial EU representation spats in Poland (see here) and Finland (see here).