Following the murders of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová, Slovakia came under close scrutiny by the world media. This is why many organisations informed about the resignation of Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák shortly after he held a press conference on March 12.
“Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák said on Monday that he would resign, bowing to the demands of a junior coalition partner which had sought the removal of Prime Minister Robert Fico’s close ally amid a political crisis,” the Reuters newswire reported only minutes after the announcement.
The report was later re-published by other world media, including The New York Times.
The Independent wrote that the resignation comes “following the biggest street protests”, referring to the March 9 gathering attended by some 50,000 people in Bratislava, and thousands of others in other Slovak towns and cities and abroad.
The worst blow yet to Fico
The world media outlets talked of Kaliňák’s close relation to Fico. The Financial Times described him as Fico’s potential successor, while Reuters used the words “Fico’s protégé”.
The Bloomberg news agency called the resignation “the worst blow yet to Prime Minister Robert Fico’s government in a political crisis that is fueling the biggest protests in the euro-area nation since the fall of the Iron Curtain”.
“The decision may provide a release valve to the pressure against the premier, who is the latest eastern European Union leader to face public outcry,” Bloomberg wrote. “Anti-government protesters have also taken to the streets in Romania, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, to complain that their governments are undermining the rule of law and failing to crack down on corruption.”
Several media outlets, for example the news agency AFP, reported that despite his resignation, Kaliňák “would stay on to complete unspecified tasks before formally stepping down, without giving a date”.
Political crisis persists
“Prime Minister Robert Fico is fighting to keep his government together after Mr Kaliňák bowed to pressure from a coalition partner, the Most-Híd party, the British BBC reported.
It pointed to the critics, who had claimed Kaliňák “could not ensure an impartial investigation into the murders, in his role as overseer of the police”.
“It’s not yet clear, however, if the move will be enough for the party, known as Most-Híd, which mostly represents ethnic-Hungarians,” The Washington Post reported, adding that its leadership was meeting later on March 12.
As for the overall political situation, it pointed out that “another coalition party called for elections should Mr Fico lose Most-Híd’s support”, referring to the statement of the Slovak National Party (SNS) that they would want early elections should Most-Híd stop supporting Mr Fico, or if Mr Fico lost his majority in parliament.
British daily The Guardian commented that the government has been in crisis since the discovery of the bodies of Kuciak and Kušnírová.
“Kaliňák is the second minister from the Smer party to resign over the murders,” The Guardian wrote, referring to the previous announcement of Culture Minister Marek Maďarič.
The website of Politico reminded of another two people who have left following the murders and were named in a draft of the reporter’s final story: chief state adviser Mária Trošková and chair of Slovakia’s security council Viliam Jasaň.
12. Mar 2018 at 21:10 | Compiled by Spectator staff