Slovak caretaker PM quits months before early elections



Slovakia's Prime Minister Eduard Heger said on Sunday he had asked the president to relieve him of his duties, after ministers' resignations weakened his cabinet that is serving in a caretaker capacity before elections in September.

Heger is due to meet President Zuzana Caputova, who has the power to appoint a new caretaker prime minister, later on Sunday.

Opposition parties had been calling for Heger to make way for a technocrat administration to lead the country until the early elections take place in September..

Polls show that the public favors the biggest opposition party, which is led by former prime minister Robert Fico, and which opposes increasing military aid to neighboring Ukraine.

Heger said on Sunday he did not want the political crisis to drag on.

"I decided to ask the president to remove my authority and to leave the president space to try with a technocrat government to stably and peacefully lead Slovakia to democratic parliamentary elections," he said in a televized news conference.

The ruling coalition, led by Heger, lost its majority in September last year when the libertarian SaS party quit and later accused the government of not doing enough to help people with energy costs that last year hit record levels in Europe. In December last year, Heger lost a no-confidence vote, and in January, he agreed to early elections, leaving him in a caretaker role.

Several ministers have left the government, citing various reasons. Most recently, the farm minister stepped down this week following a scandal over a subsidy for a firm he owns. He denied any wrongdoing.

On Friday, the foreign minister also offered his resignation. It is uncertain whether Caputova will name a new prime minister on Sunday.