Slovakia Completes Cabinet Reshuffle After Russian Vaccine Feud

Slovakia completed the reconstruction of its government after a political crisis over buying Russian coronavirus vaccines forced the prime minister to swap posts with his finance chief.

President Zuzana Caputova swore in a revamped cabinet on Thursday with Eduard Heger as the new prime minister. His predecessor, Igor Matovic, resigned two days earlier and replaced Heger as finance minister, in line with an agreement among the four parties in the ruling coalition.

The reshuffle calms a month-long crisis that erupted when Matovic’s partners complained that he bought shots of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine behind their backs, which they said defied the NATO country’s foreign policy. The turmoil underscored pressure on political leaders in the European Union, whose botched inoculation campaign has fallen behind those of the U.S. and the U.K.

Heger, 44, is a close ally from Matovic’s party, which unexpectedly won last year’s elections on a pledge to root out graft.

While the ruling alliance has been continually plagued by infighting and personal animosities, it has still enacted a broad anti-corruption crackdown on the police, judiciary and business circles and controls a comfortable majority in parliament.

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