News digest: Some schools open, so do some ski resorts

Top prosecutor to be appointed soon. Zsuzsová goes to prison in a murder case. Pezinok judges are busy deciding about custodies for high-profile suspects.

Donovaly ski centre opened, measures have yet to be specified. (Source: TASR)

This is the Friday, December 4, 2020 edition of Today in Slovakia. Learn about politics, business, and other notable events of the day in Slovakia in less than five minutes. Check out our weekend reading tips as well. If you like what we are doing and want to support good journalism, buy our online subscription. Thank you.

Čaputová will appoint new GP soon

After a week of coalition talks, MPs have elected Slovakia's next general prosecutor at the very first attempt in the December 3 public vote.

Related articleHe was almost murdered. Instead, he is to become general prosecutor Read more 

The top prosecution post will be held by Maroš Žilinka, a prosecutor of the Special Prosecutor's Office who is known to the public as the man who prosecuted some economic crimes of mobster Marian Kočner and one of the persons whose murder Kočner's right-hand woman Alena Zsuzsová is believed to have ordered.

Žilinka received the votes of 132 of the present 147 MPs. He is expected to bring reform and "vigorous cleansing" to the prosecution service.

President Zuzana Čaputová has announced that she will formally appoint him next Thursday, December 10.

Some schools will be allowed to open

The schools that organise rapid testing for their pupils and parents will be allowed to open for older pupils as of Monday.

After days of quarrels, PM Igor Matovič and Education Minister Branislav Gröhling held a joint press conference to announce their plan, approved by the cabinet on December 4. During what the prime minister called the pilot phase, dozens of schools around the country will probably open, while setting the system that should then be applied across the board in January. More details are to be released on Monday.

Pupils of grades five to nine of primary schools and secondary school students have been learning from home since October 26.

Matovič said that it is up to the school administrators, headmasters and parents now. At least one parent of a child who is to go to school has to get tested before they attend.

More about the anti-pandemic measures:

  • Donovaly ski resort, which belongs to Sme Rodina leader Boris Kollár, opened for this winter season on Friday, despite Thursday's claims by Transport Minister Andrej Doležal (Sme Rodina nominee) that skiing will not be launched earlier than January. The minister now explained that ski resorts are allowed to open per the current Public Health Office measures, as an outdoor sporting activity. "We want to tighten the measures now," Doležal said as quoted by Denník N.
    The Jasná ski resort is planning to open on Saturday.
  • As of Monday, December 7, cross-border workers are required to show negative rapid test results not older than 14 days upon crossing borders to Slovakia. Foreign Ministry State Secretary Martin Klus said that they will propose that the crisis staff also allow testing from other countries than Slovakia. The Pandemic Commission is in session and is expected to announce some measures later tonight.

Zsuzsová guilty of murder

Alena Zsuzsová is guilty of ordering the murder of the mayor of the southern-Slovak town of Hurbanovo.

The Specialised Criminal Court gave its verdict on December 4, 2020 and sentenced Zsuzsová to 21 years in prison in the case of the premeditated murder of László Basternák.

Zsuzsová has also been suspected of ordering the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak, during which his fiancée Martina Kušnírová was also killed. The Specialised Criminal Court has stripped her of charges in that case, the verdict has been appealed.

Picture of the day

The Christmas tree in front of the Presidential Palace in Bratislava was lit up on Friday after sunset. This years tree is a gift from the State Nature Protection and comes from the Kopanecké meadows, the worlds richest in species, which the Slovenský Raj national park and the Vernár village inhabitants have been trying to save.

Feature story for today

Who is the new general prosecutor

Last year, prosecutor Maroš Žilinka learnt that Alena Zsuzsová, who became known to Slovakia as a decoy for Marian Kočner, was preparing his murder in autumn 2017, a few months before journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée were murdered.

“I am reconciled to the fact that I am in a profession where a person may face danger,” Žilinka told the Czech weekly Respekt in August 2019. “And what's a better report for me as a prosecutor is that someone cannot buy me with money and the only way to stop me from doing my job is to eliminate me.”

The MPs have now decided that Žilinka should indeed serve as the top prosecutor at a time when the prosecution service, the judiciary and the police force are undergoing what has been described as purging itself from corruption and ties to criminal elements.

He was almost murdered. Instead, he is to become general prosecutor Read more 

More news from Slovakia

  • The cabinet decided to move the government's proxy for Roma communities from under the Interior Ministry to be directly responsible to the Government Office as of February 1. The proposals for the proxy will be presented to the cabinet directly by the prime minister.
  • The court ruled all five defendants in the case of corruption at Zilina courts guilty. They have received fines and suspended sentences.
  • Economy Minister Richard Sulík and MEP Eugen Jurzyca presented their plan to renew the economy after the coronavirus crisis. They will focus on structural reforms, Jurzyca said. One of the proposed saving measures is merging small municipalities. (TASR)

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