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Slovakia's Pellegrini tapped to lead new gov't

March 15, 2018

The Slovak president has chosen the deputy premier to form a new government when Prime Minister Robert Fico resigns. Slovakia has witnessed rising frustration over the government's response to the murder of a journalist.

Slovak Deputy Prime Minister and Slovak President Andrej Kiska shake hands at the Presidential Palace
Image: Reuters/D. W. Cerny

Amid a political crisis that has already seen two government ministers step down, Slovak President Andrej Kiska on Thursday said he would accept Prime Minister Robert Fico's offer to resign and ask Deputy Prime Minister Peter Pelligrini to form a new government.

Read more: Opinion: Warning signal for Europe from Slovakia

"I will entrust Mr. Pellegrini with forming the new government as soon as I receive the resignation of the current government of Fico," President Andrej Kiska told reporters. 

Read more: Slovakia: Mafia ties and journalist's murder threaten to bring down government

Fico offered to resign on Wednesday on the condition that his party be allowed to choose his successor.      

He had been struggling to manage political unrest sparked by the deadly shooting of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee at their home near Bratislava in February.

Crisis over journalist's murder in Slovakia

Politicians struggle to manage crisis

Slovak police said Kuciak's death was "most likely" caused by his investigation into links between Slovakia's politicians and Italyian mafia.

The murders and Kuciak's article, which was published after his death, opened the floodgates to a sea of anti-government sentiment in the country.

Read more: Jan Kuciak murder: 'Slovakia's systemic corruption is killing people'

The ruling three-party coalition was facing a no-confidence vote by lawmakers scheduled for Monday. 

Fico's resignation has been seen as an attempt to avoid an early election and keep his coalition in power.

"Early elections would be almost certainly accompanied by chaos and instability," Fico said.

Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kalinak and Culture Minister Marek Madaric also handed in their resignations earlier this week.

law/ls (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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