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Slovak government's fate may hang on vote of a single lawmaker

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The fate of the minority government in Slovakia could have been decided by an independent lawmaker on Tuesday (13 December), when the parliament voted on a motion of no confidence.

Prime Minister Eduard Heger's fractured centre-right coalition, which has been in minority since September and is now up for vote, as many of the independents on whom it relies since losing its majority expressed their desire to overthrow the government.

Analysts believe that any change in government could impact EU member's support of Ukraine's neighbor, especially if victory is won by the leftist opposition who has been critical of Kyiv receiving military equipment.

To bring down Heger's government, the opposition must get at least 76 votes in parliament's 150-seat chamber. Local media put the outcome down to an independent, who was formerly from a far right faction. His vote could tip the balance in either direction.

Slavena Vorobelova stated that she had made a decision, but would announce her intentions only Tuesday morning before the vote.

The vote procedure took place at 10 GMT.

Opposition groups, including the libertarian SaS Party that quit Heger’s coalition in September, brought the no confidence motion to accuse his government of failing to do enough to help people deal with rising energy prices.

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After months of fighting between Richard Sulik (its chairman) and Igor Matovic (Finance Minister), SaS quit the government. Heger is also Heger's party chief.

Heger stated that his government should remain in place to lead the country during this difficult time. He also pointed out that many households will see an increase in energy prices in January because their fixed tariffs end at the end.

Many parties are pushing for next year's election, before the February 2024 plan. This is if the cabinet fails, or as a price to keep it in power.

The government would remain in power if it loses the motion of no confidence. However, its powers would be limited if President Zuzana Kaputova appoints another Cabinet. This could limit its ability to assist people affected by rising energy prices.

On Tuesday, the parliament will vote on the 2023 state budget. However, senior lawmakers stated that the bill would most likely be postponed if the government falls.

The government could be forced to provide interim financing if the budget is not approved on time. This would also help with the cost-of-living.

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