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Slovak PM Matovič says will retire if ousted by Parliament

"If Parliament ousts me at its extraordinary session [...], I’ll step down as OĽANO [the Ordinary People center-right party] chair and retire from politics," Slovakia’s Prime Minister Igor Matovič stated at a press conference on July 22, reports the News Agency of the Slovak Republic (TASR). 

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The move follows a claim of plagiarism made against Matovič, who added that coalition lawmakers will be given free rein in the vote on the no-confidence motion in him.

He declared that in his drafting of his diploma thesis, he had committed the likely plagiarism unknowingly because he had been sure at the time that he had given all the citations appropriately.

According to media reports that surfaced on July 17, Matovič’s diploma thesis on the tax system plagiarized two books written by three Slovak economists.

Parliamentary vice chair, and former prime minister, Peter Pellegrini called on Matovič to resign over the scandal at a news conference on July 17. According to Pellegrini, a thief and a liar cannot be allowed to hold the prime minister’s post.

At his own press conference on Wednesday, Matovič said that he assumes full responsibility for his thesis. He underlined that if he had felt there was anything to hide, he would have withdrawn the thesis from the university library.

The prime minister also declared that the daily Dennik N reported on his academic work in a “purpose-built” and “insidious” manner, as the story came out on the day he left Slovakia for a summit in Brussels, TASR added.