Slovak PM Fico Rejects President’s Call For New Cabinet In Wake Of Kuciak Murder

Andrej Kiska, Jan Kuciak, Ndrangheta, Robert Fico, Slovak Journalist Killed, Slovakia

Bratislava, March 4 (CTK) – Slovak President Andrej Kiska’s proposal for a reconstruction of the government in connection with the political crisis in the wake of the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee amounts to denying the election result, Prime Minister Robert Fico said today.


Fico, leader of the senior government Smer-Social Democracy, lashed out at Kiska, who proposed either a thorough reconstruction of the cabinet or calling an early general election in a televised address earlier today.


“The president’s proposal for a total reconstruction of the cabinet, linked to [parliament’s] vote of confidence in the new cabinet, amounts to denying the results of the democratic parliamentary election held in 2016. By his statement, the president claims his adherence to the opposition that is speaking about the need of a coup in Slovakia,” Fico told journalists.


He said possible personnel changes in his cabinet would be made based on agreement of the three coalition parties and that the president wields no powers in this respect.


The Slovak government consists of Fico’s Smer-SD, the Slovak National Party (SNS) and Most-Hid, which gained 49, 15 and 11 seats in the 150-seat Slovak parliament in the general election two years ago, respectively.


Fico did not comment on the possibility of calling an early election. He only said that to be taken, such step would require support from three fifths of MPs, which means 90 at least.


Fico, whose relations with Kiska have been tense for long, sharply criticised the afternoon speech of Kiska.


He said Kiska’s statement “evidently had not been drafted in Slovakia.”


“The statement bears the handwriting of the people who absolutely do not know the constitutional and legal traditions and rules valid in Slovakia and are pursuing goals that are quite different than our country’s stability,” Fico said.


An unknown perpetrator shot Kuciak and his girlfriend, both 27, dead in their house in Velka Maca village, west Slovakia, last week. The police said Kuciak’s work as an investigative journalist might have been the motive of the crime.


In his last, unfinished article, Kuciak described the activities of Italian businesspeople linked to mafia in eastern Slovakia, and also their alleged ties with Fico’s aides.


Several aides of Fico have resigned from their posts at the Government Office in recent days.


On Saturday, the police released seven Italians whom they previously detained within the Kuciak case investigation.


About 20,000 people gathered in the centre of Bratislava on Friday to pay respect to Kuciak and his fiancee, Martina Kusnirova. Commemorative gatherings were also held in dozens of other Slovak towns but also in cities in the Czech Republic and other countries.