A riot in Smer: Pellegrini calls on Fico to step down (news digest)

Hungary will open its border with Slovakia. More people favour self-isolation over state quarantine.

Smer deputy chair Peter Pellegrini called on Smer chair Robert Fico to step down at his press conference on May 26, 2020. Smer deputy chair Peter Pellegrini called on Smer chair Robert Fico to step down at his press conference on May 26, 2020. (Source: TASR)

This is your overview of news from Tuesday, May 26.

Coronavirus in Slovakia

  • Slovakia reported two new COVID-19 cases and no deaths on May 25. A total of 1,464 people were tested. Read more on the latest developments.

  • Hungary will allow Slovak citizens and people residing in Slovakia to travel to Hungary for 48 hours without a test and without having to be quarantined starting tomorrow. The decision is reciprocal, PM Igor Matovič announced on Tuesday. Slovakia already has a similar agreement with Czechia.

  • Almost 2,000 people have been using the eKaranténa app as of 15:00 on May 26. The Interior Ministry claimed 1,613 people have been sent to home quarantine.

Foreign policy

The first foreign trip undertaken by Foreign and European Affairs Minister Ivan Korcok (a Freedom and Solidarity/SaS nominee) was to the Czech Republic, where he met his counterpart Tomáš Petříček. The ministers discussed the above-standard relations between the countries and border crossings. (TASR)

Smer split

  • Robert Fico, a chair of the strongest opposition party Smer, said he is not preparing to step down as party chair, as he has "nowhere else to go". Nonetheless, he is prepared to change his behaviour. He did not explain what changes he has in mind. Peter Pellegrini, a Smer deputy chair, has called on Fico to step down as party chair, saying it is the right time for him to go. Two other deputy chairs, Peter Žiga and Richard Raši, as well as Smer board member Denisa Saková, stood by Pellegrini at his press briefing.

I'm prepared to change the formula of my behaviour. What I'm talking about is the formula of a politician's behaviour.

Smer chair Robert Fico

The Slovak Spectator will bring a more detailed report later this week.

Justice & police

  • The National Criminal Agency (NAKA) has claimed it arrested a serial killer.
  • Six members of the Judicial Council have proposed to remove Lenka Praženková from the position of President of the Judicial Council. They claim her retention in office would seriously jeopardise the credibility and reputation of the judiciary. She repeatedly violates her duties, the six members said. The former President of the Constitutional Court, Ján Mazák, is rumoured to replace Praženková, as reported by TASR. Praženková should convene a meeting of the Council within 15 days of the submission of the proposal. If she fails to do so, the Judicial Council shall meet automatically on the 30th day after the proposal was lodged.
  • President Zuzana Čaputová met with a group of experts on the judiciary in the Presidential Palace to discuss the future of the prosecution and the upcoming general prosecutor election. The president said after the meeting that the prevailing opinion is that the next GP should be selected from among the prosecutors. The ruling coalition MPs have recently submitted a draft law that would allow non-prosecutors to run for the post.
  • The National Criminal Agency carried out about 20 raids in several places around Slovakia. The operation was related to tax fraud committed by an organised crime group. The police in Germany and the Czech Republic conducted raids as well. The Slovak police took part in the trilateral cooperation upon Germany's request.
  • The police have uncovered further bribes of almost €2 mil. in the recent 'Cattle Breeder' agricultural subventions scandal. An investigator extended charges against five natural persons and three legal entities for corruption and the legalisation of proceeds derived from criminal activity.

Slovak politics

Greenery and repair of roads remain priorities in corona-affected Bratislava Read more 

Economy and business

Coronavirus pushed the number of cars sold in Slovakia down by two thirds compared to 2019 Read more 
  • The Economy Ministry has relaunched a suspended project that is to support the purchases of e-cars and hybrid plug-ins. The ministry allocated €6 million to the project; it is possible to obtain €8,000 for the purchase of an e-car and €5,000 for the purchase of hybrid plug-ins.

Also on today:

Archaeological research confirmed existence of rotunda in a village near Košice Read more  Slovakia-based US musician creates his 'Ghost Sex Empire' Read more  Slovakia's mountain chalets opening after the coronavirus Read more 

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