Protests will take place, Pellegrini says Fico can sleep well at night

Read the reactions to the published Gorilla recording.

Smer chair Robert FicoSmer chair Robert Fico(Source: SME)

The published Gorilla recordings overshadowed all the other news in the Slovak media on Wednesday, October 16. Robert Fico, whose voice also appears on the recording, did not change his stance.

President Zuzana Čaputová

She called Gorilla the synonym for the political corruption of one entire political generation.

"In the coming days I will therefore meet with the interior minister, with the police corps president and with the leadership of the General Prosecutor's Office and I will ask questions about the reasons for the current state of affairs," the president wrote on her official Facebook profile. She declared that she will demand measures to be taken to confirm that purifying the justice system is what all the responsible officials are after.

PM Peter Pellegrini

Pellegrini said that the part that concerns Smer leader Robert Fico makes up a negligible percentage of the whole recording and Fico can sleep well at night.

"There was nothing there that would suggest a violation of the law and murky activities," Pellegrini said, and added that he has no problems asking Fico about it. He sees no reason for Fico to step down as Smer chairman.

"Gorilla has nothing to do with my government. It is a thing from 2011 and it paints a clear picture for citizens of how the Mikuláš Dzurinda government ruled here and how they were selling out the most precious factories Slovakia had, for bribes," Pellegrini said as quoted by Sme.

He repeated that everything needs to be investigated and responsibility will be cast.

Smer leader Robert Fico

Fico is the only politician active today who is featured on the Gorilla recording. Over the years since the scandal broke out, he has avoided answering whether he drank cola in the flat on Vazovova Street. The recording now suggest that he did.

Fico convened a press conference on Wednesday afternoon where he wanted to make a statement, with many of the Smer MPs standing behind him.

But the press conference was disrupted by OĽaNO leader Igor Matovič, who came to the press conference and, after Fico started speaking, stood in front of him with a sheet of paper quoting Fico's words from the recording: "Fedor Flašík withdrew 250 for the party and kept 80."

MP Juraj Blanár took the poster from Matovič twice and threw it away, but Matovič persisted and Fico reacted by leaving the room.

Opposition parties

Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) then held his own press conference and said that Fico on the recording admitted to financing the election campaign of Smer in an illegal way. He called Smer an organised criminal group.

He also said that it indeed is a scandal of the second government of Mikuláš Dzurinda and mainly (now obsolete) SDKÚ, whose representative then was Miroslavom Beblavý, now leader of the Spolu opposition party. He went on to accuse Beblavý of misleading the public "in a rough and immoral way".

Opposition parties Progressive Slovakia (PS), Spolu and Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) are planning a protest in front of Jaroslav Haščák's house in Bratislava.

PS leader Michal Truban said the recording is proof of the corruption pact between politicians and oligarchs.

Spolu leader Miroslav Beblavy said that the focus should be on the power that financial groups like Penta have at the moment, in health care or in the media. The opposition parties want to propose measures to weaken their influence, for instance so that groups that do business with the state should not be allowed to own big media companies.

Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) leader Richard Sulik said that there are serious reasons why the people of the scandal should be placed in custody: it is probable that they will attempt to mar the investigation, influence witnesses and even escape justice.

The Dobrá voľba party of former health minister for Smer, Tomáš Drucker, called for the Security Council to be convened in response to the scandal.

Sme Rodina leader Boris Kollar said that the people who committed this should have been written off a long time ago. It is important to put pressure on them so that people learn the truth and the whole scandal is properly investigated.

Former president and now leader of Za Ludi, Andrej Kiska, said that the country has been hijacked. "They have bought politicians who have had their back for years and maintained this system," he said, adding that the recording proves the state needs to be built anew.

For a Decent Slovakia

The protest movement has announced another protest on Friday, October 18, in several places around Slovakia: for now Bratislava, Prievidza, Košice and Banska Bystrica.

The main demand of the protests, entitled For a Just Slovakia, is the departure of Robert Fico. Also Dobroslav Trnka, Dušan Kováčik and Monika Jankovská should leave their posts. General Prosecutor Jaromír Čižnár should either act fast or step down, the protest organisers believe.

Former Gorilla investigation team leader

The publishing of the recording may help but also harm the case, said former investigators of the corruption case, Lukáš Kyselica, as quoted by Sme.

He said the leak could be expected given that the recording is part of the murder file case. He said that at least ten people have legal access to the recording: five people charged in the case, their five lawyers, two families of the murdered and their lawyers.

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