Igor Matovič (born 11 May 1973) is a Slovak politician serving as the current Prime Minister of Slovakia. Born in Trnava, he studied at Comenius University and went into the publishing business.
Matovič founded the Ordinary People (Obyčajní ľudia) movement which ran on an anti-corruption ticket and was politically to the centre-right. He was elected to the National Council in 2010 and won on the Freedom and Solidarity list. His anti-corruption campaigning has been marked out by "publicity stunts to shine a light on alleged graft" particularly focusing on parliamentary privileges and bribery.
Matovič was re-elected 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 1997. 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). Agence France-Presse described him as an "eccentric self-made millionaire and former media boss" who had become "a media-savvy but unpredictable politician".
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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. Corruption was a major issue in the election, which helped Matovič, who had long positioned himself as an anti-corruption activist. 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. 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.