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New Slovak government sworn in amid coronavirus outbreak

FILE - In this Friday, March 20, 2020 file photo, Designated Slovakian Prime Minister Igor Matovic wearing a face mask takes the oath during the inaugural session of the new Parliament, in Bratislava, Slovakia. Slovakia’s president has sworn in a new government led by the winning party in the parliamentary election. President Zuzana Caputova appointed a four-party coalition led by Igor Matovic whose center-right populist opposition group Ordinary People captured 25% of the Feb. 29 vote. All present at the ceremony on Saturday, March 21, 2020 had protective face masks and gloves amid the outbreak of the coronavirus. (Michal Svitok/TASR via AP, File)
March 21, 2020 - 6:46 AM

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - A four-party coalition government took office in Slovakia on Saturday, with the coronavirus outbreak an immediate policy challenge.

All those present at the swearing-in ceremony with President Zuzana Caputova wore protective face masks and gloves. Slovakia currently has 137 confirmed cases.

The coalition government, which has a parliamentary majority, is led by Igor Matovic, whose centre-right Ordinary People captured 25% of the Feb. 29 vote.

The pro-western Matovic, 46, made fighting corruption the central plank of his election campaign.

Matovic struck a deal to govern with the pro-business Freedom and Solidarity party; the conservative For People, a party established by former President Andrej Kiska; and We Are Family, a populist right-wing group that is allied with France's far-right National Rally party.

Ordinary People will have eight members in the Cabinet, including the post of prime minister and the ministers of defence, finance, health and interior.

Freedom and Solidarity and We Are Family will control three ministries each while For People will have two.

We Are Family chairman Boris Kollar became Parliament’s speaker.

The election ended the long dominance of the scandal-tainted Smer-Social Democracy, a left-of-centre party led by former Prime Minister Robert Fico.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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