Slovak Interior Minister Kalinak Refuses To Resign: Vows To Solve Jan Kuciak’s MurderČTK
Bratislava, March 3 (CTK) – Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kalinak is not going to quit in compliance with the calls from the opposition and a junior government party, as he wants to do his utmost for the police to clear up the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee, he told Slovak radio today.
The broad leadership of Most-Hid, the smallest of the Slovak three government parties, will meet on March 12 to discuss the approach of Kalinak (Smer-Social Democracy) and its possible departure from the government coalition.
On Sunday, TV speeches will be addressed to the nation by President Andrej Kiska and Prime Minister Robert Fico, leader of Smer-SD, of which Kalinak is a deputy chairman, and also by parliament chairman Andrej Danko, head of the junior government Slovak National Party (SNS).
“We will do our best to clear up the murder and bring the perpetrator to justice. Afterwards, we can discuss all other issues,” Kalinak said.
“It is my task to secure the investigation’s success,” he said.
Describing the radio interview, server Sme.sk cited the moderator’s question of how many people have yet to die before Kalinak starts feeling what civilised countries call political responsibility.
Kalinak said the moderator presents the Kuciak tragedy narrowly as a mere political problem.
“You declare it as a fact without having measured it,” Kalinak reacted to the moderator’s statement that a large part of the public trusts neither Kalinak nor Police President Tibor Gaspar.
After the interview ended, Kalinak repeated to journalists that he wants to clear up the murder first, only afterwards a “political hell” may burst out.
In the wake of last week’s murder of Kuciak, 27, an investigative journalist writing on suspected tax and subsidy frauds and dubious persons linked to PM Robert Fico, resignation has been announced by Culture Minister Marek Madaric (Smer-SD) and now also by Fico’s long-standing aide Roman Sipos, who has headed the prime minister’s office since 2015.
Sipos told Dennik N that he has proposed his resignation to Fico as of April 1. He said he has decided so in face of a newspaper article saying that the double murder might have been connected with the operation of Italian mafia in Slovakia.
Kuciak, in his last, unfinished article, mentioned a suspicious businessman’s links with Fico’s assistant Maria Troskova and National Security Council secretary Viliam Jasan, both of whom have left their posts pending the closure of the investigation.
On Friday night, the police released the seven Italians whom they previously arrested within the investigation into the murder of Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kusnirova.
Most-Hid previously called on Kalinak to resign but left further steps up to Smer-SD. In the meantime, lawmaker Ogor Janckulik has left Most-Hid, as has the party’s economic adviser Tomas Meravy and Bratislava Deputy Mayor Iveta Plsekova.
Citing Most-Hid today, server Cas.sk said the party leadership will decide on March 12 on its remaining in or leaving the government coalition now that Kalinak has refused to step down.
Sociologist Michal Vasecka has drawn a parallel between the recent developments and the situation following the then president son’s abduction in the Vladimir Meciar government era in the mid-1990s.
“People are no longer willing to tolerate the oligarchic model that has taken roots in the country, let alone the fact that the oligarchic model has started transforming into a state of mafia. People are fed up with it. I can see even the voters of Smer-SD, mainly the younger ones, openly say that the [Fico] government cannot continue under these circumstances. This is something unprecedented,” Vasecka told Dennik N.
In the latest general election in 2016, Smer-SD gained 49 seats in the 150-seat Slovak parliament. Its government partners, the Slovak National Party (SNS) and Most-Hid, gained 15 and 11 seats, respectively.