The Slovak president, Zuzana Čaputová, appointed a new centre-right coalition on Saturday after a February election swept anti-corruption partiesto power.
The newly appointed prime minister, Igor Matovič, and his team were sworn in at a ceremony with participants wearing facial masks as a precaution against coronavirus. Slovakia has reported 137 cases of Covid-19 this month and no deaths.
The central European country of 5.5 million people is battling the coronavirus outbreak that has put Europe on lockdown, pressuring Matovič’s four-party coalition to speed up talks to form a government.
The cabinet replaced a centre-left Smer party-led administration that has ruled the country through a period of economic growth since 2012, and for 12 of the last 14 years. Smer’s popularity has slipped since the 2018 murder of the investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancee led to huge street protests against alleged corruption that are still reverberating in the country.
After the parties signed the coalition deal, Matovič said: “Bearing in mind our responsibility and the burden we received, that is the coronavirus pandemic, we have signed a deal so that we could make good on our promise to make Slovakia a country that all honest people could be proud of.”
Matovič, 46, and his Ordinary People party (OLaNo) – known for publicity stunts to shine a light on alleged graft – won a quarter of the vote in the 29 February election.
OLaNo will lead with three other parties: Sme Rodina (We are Family), a socially conservative and eurosceptic party; SaS (Freedom and Solidarity), an economically liberal party; and Za ľudí (For the People), a mildly conservative party led by the former president Andrej Kiska.