Bratislava, March 15 (CTK) – Slovak President Andrej Kiska today accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Robert Fico, which means the fall of the whole cabinet, and assigned outgoing Deputy PM Peter Pellegrini (both Smer-Social Democracy) to form a new cabinet based on the current three-party coalition. 


Fico’s cabinet will remain in office pending the appointment of a new government. Pellegrini told journalists earlier today that its establishment is a matter of a few days.


In Slovakia, the presidential assignation to form a cabinet is an informal step ensuing from tradition. Pellegrini will become prime minister only after Kiska officially appoints him to the post.


Fico handed in his resignation halfway through his cabinet’s four-year mandate in reaction to the political crisis after the late February murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee.


“I am convinced that the decision to form a new government is a correct step towards the stability of the Slovak Republic because an early general election would bring no stability. As chairman of the strongest political party, Smer-SD, I will be a part of the coalition council,” Fico, Slovakia’s ever longest-serving prime minister, told journalists after stepping down.


The current coalition of Smer-SD, the Slovak National Party (SNS) and Most-Hid has 78 seats in the 150-seat Slovak parliament, and there are another four independent deputies who often vote together with the coalition.


According to a recent public opinion poll, Smer-SD’s popularity markedly declined after the murder of Kuciak, who wrote in his last, unfinished article about suspected operation of Italian mafia in Slovakia and its links to aides of Fico. The current coalition would lose its majority in parliament if elections were held now, the poll conducted by the Focus Agency showed.