As widely expected, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico resigned on March 15, leaving his his deputy Peter Pellegrini to form a new government. Mr Fico is the latest Slovak politician to resign as the fallout from the murder of a young journalist Jan Kuciak, continues to spread. Interior Minister Robert Kalinak resigned on March 12.
“The only reason I have resigned is to prevent chaos in this country and to ensure stability,” Mr Fico told reporters. “Snap elections would not have brought any stability.” He added that he will stay in politics, “as leader of the country’s most powerful party.”
Mr Pellegrini and his new government will now have to pass a parliamentary vote of confidence, but the country’s president, Andrej Kiska said on March 16 that he had been informed by the three coalition parties – Mr Pelligrini and Mr Fico’s Smer-SD, plus junior partners Most-Hid and the Slovak National Party, “that they have the support of the majority in parliament for a new government.”
Before his murder in February, Mr Kuciak had reported on how the ‘Ndrangheta, an Italian crime syndicate, may have bought farmland in Slovakia to collect European Union subsidies with the help of Slovakian officials. The reaction to his murder has included a number of protests on the part of ordinary Slovaks unhappy with how the government has handled the case. Tens of thousands again took to the streets of towns and cities across the country on March 16, demanding justice for Mr Kuciak and his fiancee, who was murdered with him.