Embattled Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico pushed his deputy and Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák to resign Tuesday as pressure is mounting on the government to call early elections as the small East European country lurches towards a protracted political crisis in the wake of the brutal murder of 26-year-old investigative journalist Ján Kuciak
Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kušnírová were found shot to death on February 25 while Kuciak was in the process of investigating alleged links between members of the ruling government connected to Fico and the Italian Mafia.
Their murders have sparked the largest anti-government protests in the Slovak capital Bratislava since the fall of Communism in 1989. The public unrest and Kaliňák’s resignation could mean the end of Fico’s coalition government.
The smallest of the three coalition partners threatened to leave the government on Tuesday if the parties are unable to reach an agreement on early elections.
The three coalition parties must agree to pass a constitutional law on shortening the election term. They will them be able to set a date for when new elections can take place, otherwise, the final decision will remain with the president. In order to do so, a qualified majority of 3/5 of all deputies (at least 90 votes) is required.
The parliament will most probably express no confidence in the government with the votes of the democratic opposition. Fico will then not be able to put together enough votes in the parliament to win the MPs’ support for a new cabinet.