Pellegrini announces his new party, Kočner talks about Kuciak (news digest)

Read your overview of news from Slovakia from June 17.

Marian Kočner and his lawyer Marek ParaMarian Kočner and his lawyer Marek Para (Source: TASR)

This is your overview of news from Slovakia from Wednesday, June 17, 2020. We prepare the Today in Slovakia news overview at the end of every workday as unpaid content. The best way to support our work is to buy our online subscription. Thank you for your trust.

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Pellegrini introduces his fellow renegades

Former Smer election slate leader Peter Pellegrini, who recently announced he was leaving the party he had made his career in, has announced he is founding a new party, on June 17, 2020. He wants to have the party up and running by September, he said, to be "the new face of social democracy in Slovakia".

Pellegrini is joined by 10 more MPs from the Smer caucus in his new endeavour. Most of them are prominent Smer politicians.

"Our rival is the current ruling coalition - its missteps, amateurism, incapability to lead the country in these complicated times," Pellegrini told the press conference.

Robert Fico said the renegades are no new faces after 20 years in Smer.

MP with a controversial past takes up new gov't proxy post

Sme Rodina MP Petra Krištúfková is the new government plenipotentiary for families and social aid.

That is the official title of a new position that emerged at the Labour Ministry after Milan Krajniak (Sme Rodina) took over as minister. The Igor Matovič cabinet approved the proposal at its June 17 session and installed Sme Rodina MP Petra Krišúfková into the newly-created post. She is to help the government "to prepare measures for families and the socially weak", the ministry wrote in its press release.

There have been several organisational changes at the Labour Ministry that have provoked criticism among proponents of gender equality. In addition, the choice of Krištúfková for the post has been criticised too, with media pointing to her lack of experience in the respective policy area and to her past relationships with prominent underworld figures in Bratislava.

Kočner: Kuciak's stories were no danger to me

Marian Kočner rejected any connection between himself and the 2018 murder of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová during the trial session that was held in Pezinok on June 17.

Kočner faces charges of ordering the murder of investigative reporter Ján Kuciak, who was killed in his house in western Slovakia in February 2018 together with his fiancée Martina Kušnírová.

"I have ordered no murder and I have nothing to do with it," Kočner, who had previously rejected to comment, told the court as quoted by the SITA newswire.

In other news from Slovakia:

  • Tuesday testing has returned nine positive COVID-19 results; four of them reportedly came from the eastern-Slovak town of Spišské Podhradie. See the complete coronavirus stats for Slovakia here.
  • Re-introducing compulsory state quarantine is the topic of the day, said PM Igor Matovič in reaction to the higher number of new cases. Smart quarantine was dramatically less effective than the controversial state quarantine, according to the PM. (SITA)
  • The National Criminal Agency (NAKA) continues to investigate the case from the State Material Reserves Administration of the Slovak Republic. As part of the Bratislava operation, they seized twenty 250-gram gold bars from a safety deposit box belonging to former material reserves head Kajetán Kičura. (SITA)
  • 1990s businessman Jozef Majský, who has been on trial over fraud suspicions relating to non-banking companies in Slovakia, was detained in a hospital in the Czech Republic based on a European arrest warrant issued by the Slovak Supreme Court. Majský has been avoiding court trials, citing health problems. His case has been dragging on for 18 years now. He is currently awaiting surgery and is being guarded by the Czech police. Local authorities will decide about his extradition to Slovakia. (SITA)
  • Drivers should prepare for another change concerning the compulsory car insurance card. Currently, drivers can use the green card both in Slovakia and abroad. This will change in July, and the card will possibly be black and white. Read more about the change.
  • Slovakia has fallen in the competitiveness ranking. It placed 57th in the recent IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2020, down four positions compared with last year.
  • Only 5 percent of 425 employers in Slovakia expect the number of their employees to increase between July and September, while 17 percent expect their number to drop, the recent ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook suggests.

Do not miss on today:

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