Slovak PM, minister under pressure to quit over journalist murder


Bratislava (AFP)

Pressure mounted Monday for Slovakia's prime minister and interior minister to resign, after the murder of a journalist who had been probing alleged corruption linked to the governing SMER-SD party.

The justice minister, who belongs to the coalition party Most-Hid, also accused Prime Minister Robert Fico of peddling conspiracy theories, in a sign of possible tension within the cabinet itself.

Fico on Monday alleged an "attempt at total destabilisation of our country" after President Andrej Kiska called for sweeping government changes or snap elections.

Fico also questioned why Kiska had privately met with American billionaire George Soros last year, calling the entrepreneur "a man who has a very dubious name".

That prompted Justice Minister Lucia Zitnanska to hit out, saying Fico "has decided to attack people's lowest instincts with conspiracy theories".

Journalist Jan Kubiak was killed as he was about to publish an explosive report on alleged corruption linked to the Italian mafia.

The killing prompted candlelit anti-graft protests and memorials last week and another demonstration is planned for Friday.

"Today it is clear that Prime Minister Robert Fico and Interior Minister Robert Kalinak do not represent the values that thousands of people in Slovakia and in the world stood up for" during anti-corruption demonstrations, protest organisers said Monday.

Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova, both 27, were found shot dead at their home near the capital Bratislava on February 25.

Police have said Kuciak's death was "most likely" related to his investigation, which his employer posthumously published.

Authorities detained several Italian businessmen named by Kuciak last week but released them for a lack of evidence.