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March 11, 2018 7:24 pm | FILED UNDER: politics

PM Fico’s Party Weighs Cabinet Changes Amid Kuciak Scandal

By ČTK

Bratislava, March 11 (CTK) – Smer-Social Democracy of Prime Minister Robert Fico is ready to make changes in the government lineup, but this does not mean that it will dismiss Interior Minister Robert Kalinak, Deputy Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini told the public broadcaster today.

 

Smer-SD can take steps leading to personnel changes in order to achieve stability, he said.

 

The first results of the Saturday talks between Fico and Bela Bugar, leader of the junior government Most-Hid, may be presented on Monday, Pellegrini said.

 

On Friday, Slovaks staged large demonstrations against Fico’s government and in support of an independent international investigation of a recent murder of a journalist who pointed to alleged links between ruling politicians, entrepreneurs and the Italian mafia. These have been the biggest public protests since the fall of the country’s communist regime.

 

Two aides of Fico stepped down in reaction, but the public called for the dismissal of Kalinak and Police President Tibor Gaspar.

 

President Andrej Kiska called for a government reconstruction or early elections as a way out of the political crisis. Fico claimed that the president and the political opposition tried to politically abuse the situation.

 

On Friday, Fico, Kiska and parliament chairman Andrej Danko, who is the leader the first government partner, the Slovak National Party (SNS), meet over a draft declaration in an effort to calm down the public, but they failed to reach agreement.

 

The leadership of Most-Hid is to discuss the situation today.

 

Pellegrini said Smer-SD would try to maintain the present government. He said replacements of some ministers was an alternative, but it might also happen that the government would fall apart.

 

He said the Slovak government gave as much space as possible to investigate the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee without being influenced by politicians.

 

An unknown shooter killed the two young people in their house in late February.

 

Pellegrini criticised European People’s Party (EPP) group head Manfred Weber for calling on Fico on Saturday to sack Kalinak. Weber made the statement after six MEPs paid a two-day visit to Slovakia to check the situation.

 

Weber said it seemed that the Slovak supreme government representatives did not do their utmost to help clarify the two murders.

 

Pellegrini said the German MEP Weber should comment the developments in Germany, not Slovakia. Weber interfered into Slovak internal affairs, he said.

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