Slovak Premier Faces No-Confidence Vote Over Plagiarism Charges

Slovak opposition parties launched a no-confidence motion against Primer Minister Igor Matovic, saying he’s morally unfit to lead the European Union member because he plagiarized his university thesis.

Opposition lawmakers led by two former prime ministers filed a motion on Tuesday seeking the vote, which has to be held within seven days. The move follows a report by the Dennik N newspaper that Matovic plagiarized his 1998 university thesis and opposition criticism that Matovic is mishandling the coronavirus crisis.

The prime minister has played down the accusations, saying he “doesn’t remember” who he quoted or cited. He is likely to survive the ouster bid because his ruling partners have said they will not let the government fall.

Eastern Europe is no stranger to plagiarism, which has embarrassed leaders and cost some their jobs from Hungary to Slovakia and Serbia. The scandal in Slovakia broke out days after his close ally, Boris Kollar, survived a vote that sought his ouster as parliamentary speaker amid similar allegations.

Matovic, the founder and leader of the Ordinary People movement, emerged as the surprise winner of February elections on an anti-corruption agenda, which struck a nerve in a country still reeling from the high-profile murder of an investigative reporter.

He leads a ruling coalition of four diverse parties at a time when the Slovak export-oriented economy is among the worst affected in the EU by the coronavirus pandemic.

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