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March 1, 2018 12:00 am | FILED UNDER: politics

Calls For Slovak Interior Minister To Resign Intensify

By ČTK

Bratislava, March 1 (CTK) – The Slovak junior government party Most-Hid has called on Interior Minister Robert Kalinak and Police President Tibor Gaspar to resign over last week’s murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend, its leader Bela Bugar told journalists today.

 

The resignation of Kalinak and Gaspar has also been demanded by the opposition.

 

It seems that Kuciak was murdered because of his work that dealt with business activities of Italian mafia in Slovakia, abuse of subsidies and corrupt judges.

 

Kalinak is a deputy head of Smer-Social Democracy, the strongest government party of Prime Minister Robert Fico. The third government partner is the Slovak National Party (SNS).

 

Bugar did not say whether his party would leave the government if Kalinak keeps his post. He said Smer-SD must take action to calm down the situation and the tension in society.

 

“I think it is not necessary to sacrifice the government,” Bugar said.

 

If Kalinak does not resign, one MP may leave the Most-Hid group, he said.

 

Bugar said the team of investigators deal with Kuciak’s murder should be extended and include foreign experts to make the investigation “trustworthy and independent.”

 

Kalinak said the Czech and Italian police got involved in the investigation into Kuciak’s murder and representatives of the Europol, U.S. FBI and British Scotland Yard had also promised aid to Slovakia.

 

Seven people have been arrested within the investigation so far.

 

According to the media, Most-Hid has not succeeded with its demand for the time being, and voices calling for the party’s departure from the government coalition have intensified.

 

Aktuality.sk news server writes that Justice Minister Lucia Zitnanska (Most-Hid) is ready to leave the cabinet unless Kalinak resigns from his post within one week.

 

The Slovak opposition previously tried to dismiss Kalinak over his business partner Ladislav Basternak who was charged with tax fraud. Fico, who rents a luxurious flat in Basternak’s building, then supported Kalinak, calling him the best interior minister Slovakia has ever had.

 

Kalinak has been interior minister since 2012 and he also held the post from 2006 to 2010.

 

On Wednesday, Culture Minister and former Smer-SD deputy chairman Marek Madaric announced his resignation in reaction to Kuciak’s murder.

 

Most-Hid has pushed through the departure of two aides to Fico, whose former business links with persons probably close to Italian mafia were highlighted by Kuciak in an article he was working on before his death.

 

On Wednesday, National Security Council head Viliam Jasan and Fico’s assistant Maria Troskova resigned from their posts at the Government Office pending the closure of the investigation.

 

Slovak journalist Radovan Branik told the Czech server Aktualne.cz that Kuciak’s murder is connected with the situation in Slovak judiciary, with the judicial mafia on which Kuciak also touched in his work, rather than the often mentioned Italian aspect.

 

“A caste of companies has arisen that live on incomprehensible court verdicts. A small part of judges have been bought. Whole industry has arisen around this, generating dozens of verdicts which enabled a narrow group of people to gain enormous property. A state in the state has emerged,” Branik said.

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