Yesterday saw the gathering of President Ivan Gasparovic and leaders of all parliamentary parties to decide on how the country would be run and by whom after the fall of the coalition government last week.
The meeting produced no result, though, as the President flexed his power and refused to allow Prime Minister Iveta Radicova and her coalition to run the country as caretaker until March 2012, when early elections have been called.
This went against the grain of the general consensus of the parties, including main opposition party Smer-SD, which would have accepted that as a solution, as communication between the rivals of Smer-SD and SDKU has improved of late, as Smer-SD looks set to regain power.
All the party heads left Presidential Palace with absolutely nothing to say to the press, as President Gasparovic has set another meeting for Thursday evening. Gasparovic made a brief statement that a constitutional solution had to be found and that allowing the fallen government to continue was not really a constitutional option.
Whatever decision is eventually taken by the President, who finds himself in a real position of power for the first time in years, will mean that the interim government would formally have to present a 5-month manifesto to parliament for its endorsement, for instance.
The nudging for position has started among the parties as well, with the SaS saying it would not back a government with its former coalition partners SDKU, KDH and Most-Hid, while the SNS seems to have the same attitude. On the other side, none of them want to continue with the SaS either, albeit temporarily, with finance minister Ivan Miklos from SDKU calling the idea absurd. Miklos also said he was against co-operation with Robert Fico’s Smer-SD party.
So the Slovak parliament is hung in limbo waiting for President Ivan Gasparovic to come up with a solution, but it should be a finely balanced one so that nobody has an easy majority in parliament and so have any real power to change key issues. Whether that will be the case remains to be seen. Parliament convenes today as the parties themselves try to come up with an acceptable solution.