Friday

16th Nov 2018

Slovakia on brink of elections after journalist murder

  • Up to 20,000 joined public vigil in Bratislava on Friday (Photo: Peter Tkac)

The Slovak president has joined calls for snap elections in reaction to the murder of a journalist.

Slovakia should either carry out an "extensive and radical reconstruction" of its government or hold "early elections, which would be the most natural solution in many democratic countries," the president, Andrej Kiska, said on TV on Sunday (4 March).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Friday's protest was peaceful, but Kiska spoke of a 'crisis of trust' (Photo: Peter Tkac)

He said the murder had created "enormous mistrust" in the state and its law enforcement bodies.

But he said the government of prime minister Robert Fico had done nothing to reassure people over the past week.

"This mistrust is justified. Boundaries have been crossed … Something bad is under the surface, something bad is at the very foundations of our state," Kiska said.

"I don't see any plan to bring the country out of the crisis of trust," he said.

He spoke after leading a mass vigil in Bratislava on Friday for the slain reporter, Jan Kuciak, and his fiancee, Martina Kusnirova, who was also killed.

The president's unscheduled TV statement drew the prime minister's swift rebuke.

Fico accused Kiska of "lining up with the opposition" and of acting in bad taste.

"We're not going to dance on the graves of these two young people," Fico said.

The prime minister added that the president had no power to dissolve the government.

"If there needs to be a change of government, that will be the result of agreement within the coalition and, in that case, the constitution of the Republic of Slovakia foresees no role for the president," Fico said.

The murder has created suspicion that an Italian organised crime group, the Ndrangheta, had its tentacles in Fico's government and in possible fraud of EU subsidies to Slovakia.

Slovak police detained seven people in the aftermath of the killing, but released them over the weekend.

Under the Slovak constitution, three-fifths of MPs must vote to trigger an early election.

Thirty MPs can also trigger a no-confidence motion that Fico's government would have to win by an absolute majority of at least 76 votes in the 150-seat parliament.

Most-Hid, a junior party in Fico's coalition, had already threatened to walk away over the scandal.

It said on Sunday he had until 12 March to sack his interior minister, or risk losing his parliamentary majority.

Up to 20,000 people gathered at the vigil in Bratislava on Friday, where the slain journalist's family and some protesters also called for Fico to step down.

The killing was the second high-profile murder of a journalist in an EU state after the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta in October.

Reporters Without Borders, a French NGO, said in a statement that some EU leaders had created an "appalling climate for journalists" to work in.

It drew attention to the fact that Fico had, in a previous corruption affair, referred to journalists as "dirty, anti-Slovak prostitutes", "hyenas" and "snakes".

Slovak PM at risk over journalist murder

A junior party in prime minister Robert Fico's coalition has threatened to walk away unless he takes more drastic action over the killing of a reporter.

Journalist murder shocks Slovakia

The reporter's research on alleged Italian mafia links with EU farm funds in Slovakia has been hinted at as a possible motive for his murder.

Media bosses demand EU push Malta on journalist killing

In a letter to commissioner Timmermans, the directors of eight media groups ask the EU executive to use "all powers" to push the investigation into the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Threat to collapse Fico coalition after journalist killing

Junior coalition partner Most-Hid wants Slovaks to vote for a new parliament, after the killing of a journalist. "If talks about early elections fail, Most-Hid will exit the ruling coalition," its leader Bela Bugar said.

Opinion

Slovakia - from black hole to neutron star

Slovakia is about to take up a one-year stint as president of the Visegrad Four, with a determination to anchor Central Europe in "Jadro Europy" - the core of Europe.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  2. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  3. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  4. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  5. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  6. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  7. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May
  8. Denmark blocks Tanzania aid over homophobic crackdown

Opinion

Interpol, China and the EU

China joins a long list of countries - including Russia - accused of abusing Interpol's 'Red Notice' system to harras activists and dissidents.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  2. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  3. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  4. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  5. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  6. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  7. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot
  8. How the 'EU's Bank' fails to raise the bar on accountability

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us