Igor Matovič

Igor Matovič
Igor Matovič May 2020.png
Igor Matovič in May 2020
Prime Minister of Slovakia
Assumed office
21 March 2020
President Zuzana Čaputová
Preceded by Peter Pellegrini
Leader of Ordinary People
Assumed office
11 November 2011
Preceded by Position established
Member of the National Council
Assumed office
9 July 2010
Personal details
Born (1973-05-11) 11 May 1973 (age 47)
Trnava, Czechoslovakia
Political party Ordinary People (since 2011)
Other political
affiliations
Freedom and Solidarity (until 2011)
Spouse(s) Pavlína Matovičová
Children 2
Education Comenius University

Igor Matovič (born 11 May 1973) is a Slovak politician serving as Prime Minister of Slovakia since 2020.

Born in Trnava, he studied at Comenius University and went into the publishing business. Elected to the National Council in 2010 on the Freedom and Solidarity party list, Matovič founded the Ordinary People (Obyčajní ľudia) movement in 2011, which ran on an anti-corruption ticket and was politically to the centre-right. His anti-corruption campaigning has been marked out by "publicity stunts to shine a light on alleged graft"[1] particularly focusing on parliamentary privileges and bribery.

Matovič was reelected in 2020, his party obtaining a sufficient number of seats to enter into a coalition government with three other centrist and right-wing parties. Matovič's choices for his cabinet were accepted by President Zuzana Čaputová and he was appointed Prime Minister on 21 March 2020.

Early life and business career

Igor Matovič was born in Trnava on 11 May 1973. In 1993, he began to study at the Faculty of Management at Comenius University, graduating in 1998. He founded a business in 1997 and worked as the chief executive of Trnava publishing house regionPRESS from 2002 to 2010. Matovič later transferred the business to his wife, Pavlína (née Repaska).[2][3] Agence France-Presse described him as an "eccentric self-made millionaire and former media boss" who had become "a media-savvy but unpredictable politician".[4]

Political career

In 2010, Matovič founded the Ordinary People (Obyčajní ľudia) civic movement, which was generally centre-right and emphasized anti-corruption. Matovič advertised the civic movement using free leaflets distributed by his family's press company.[3] Along with three other OĽaNO MPs, he first won election at the 2010 election on the Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) list. He sat in the SaS caucus until February the following year, when he supported the opposition Smer's proposed restrictions on Multiple citizenship.[5] Matovič's opposition to the government's position led to SaS being dropped from the coalition. In 2011, Iveta Radičová's government fell apart, which led to new elections in 2012. Led by Matovič, Ordinary People was reconstituted into OĽaNO (Ordinary People and Independent Personalities), an independent political party. OĽaNO won 8.55% and 16 seats. He stayed in the opposition as he was unwilling to work with Smer-SD.[3]

As leader of OĽaNO, Matovič attracted attention by campaigning against corruption. To oppose parliamentary immunity, he parked his car on a sidewalk and showed his parliamentary pass to police who tried to tow it; to oppose corruption, he took a polygraph test stating that he had never accepted bribes.[6] However, Robert Fico accused Matovič of impropriety in effecting a fictitious sale of the regionPRESS business for 122 million Slovak koruna to employee Pavel Vandák, who supposedly got the money from an internal account. Matovič denies this.[3]

Prime Minister of Slovakia

Matovič's party OĽaNO got the plurality of votes in the 2020 Slovak parliamentary election on 29 February 2020, winning 53 seats in the 150-member National Council with 25.02% of the vote.[4] Corruption was a major issue in the election, which helped Matovič, who had long positioned himself as an anti-corruption activist.[7] On 13 March, Matovič announced he had reached an agreement for a governing coalition with the other centrist and right-wing parties We Are Family, Freedom and Solidarity and For the People, though they had not agreed upon a common governing program. He did not disclose his picks for the new cabinet.[8] Matovič submitted his cabinet selection to President Zuzana Čaputová on 16 March; she accepted all of the appointments. The new cabinet's composition was revealed on 18 March and was sworn in on 21 March.[9][10][11]

In July 2020, Matovič admitted to plagiarizing his masters' thesis after an investigation from Denník N found that entire pages and charts were lifted from the sources. He said he would step down after all his election promises were fulfilled.[12] Comenius University in Bratislava confirmed the plagiarism of the master's thesis.[13]

Sociologist of the Bratislava Policy Institute, Michal Vašečka, stated that "Matovič has started to transform the anger of the society into a class war: city vs. countryside, educated vs. uneducated, common people vs. the elites." He suggested that political polarization would result.[14]

Footnotes

  1. ^ Reuters (21 March 2020). "Slovakia president appoints centre-right coalition government". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  2. ^ Kirschbaum, Stanislav J. (2013). Historical Dictionary of Slovakia. Scarecrow Press. p. 213. ISBN 978-0-8108-8030-6.
  3. ^ a b c d "Igor Matovič". Webnoviny.sk. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Slovakia election: seismic shift as public anger ousts dominant Smer-SD party". The Guardian. Agence France-Presse. 1 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  5. ^ Michaela Terenzani-Stanková (10 February 2011). "Coalition loses another MP". The Slovak Spectator. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  6. ^ Cameron, Rob (4 March 2020). "Europe's Mr Ordinary prepares for power". BBC News. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  7. ^ "Slovakia: the end of Smer's rule, the triumph of Igor Matovič". OSW Centre for Eastern Studies. 2 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  8. ^ "Slovak election winner secures four-party coalition with cabinet deal". Reuters. 13 March 2020. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  9. ^ "Matovič predstaví ministrov zrejme až v stredu". Denník SME (in Slovak). TASR. 17 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  10. ^ "Nie Grendel, ministrom vnútra bude Mikulec. Matovič predstavil svoju vládu". HNonline (in Slovak). TASR. 18 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  11. ^ Brokaw, Sommer. "Igor Matovic sworn in as Slovakia's prime minister". UPI. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  12. ^ "Prime Minister Matovič is a plagiarist too". The Slovak Spectator. 16 July 2020. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  13. ^ "Aj škola si prezrela Matovičovu diplomovku. Verdikt - doslovne odpísaná". Pravda (in Slovak). 27 July 2020. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  14. ^ Sirotnikova, Miroslava German (5 August 2020). "Jan Kuciak: A Murder That Changed Slovakia". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 5 August 2020.

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