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Slovakian take to the streets to protest alleged corruption in government Slovakian take to the streets to protest alleged corruption in government  (AFP or licensors)

Slovakia's Interior Minister resigns over murdered journalist

Slovakia's Interior Minister Robert Kalinak has announced his resignation amid a crisis following the killings of an investigative journalist and his fiancée.

By Stefan J. Bos

Robert Kalinak's resignation comes amid social and political turmoil sparked by last month's murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak who had been probing links between the government and the Italian mafia.

In statements, Kalinak made clear that he wanted to "preserve the stability in Slovakia." For this reason, he said he had "decided to resign as deputy prime minister and interior minister."

Kalinak’s move followed massive protests. Over the weekend, tens of thousands of protesters in Bratislava, the capital, and across Slovakia demanded the resignation of the government and a thorough investigation into the shooting deaths of 27-year old Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kusnirova, who was also 27.

The most significant protests since the collapse of Communism also underscored mounting public anger over corruption in the county, explained rally organizer Péter Nagy. "We want our government to investigate the murder of Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova with international experts," he said.

"And also we want a new trustworthy government with no existing links to corruption and organized crime," Nagy added.

Questions remain

Journalist Kuciak’s last, unfinished story was about the activities of the Italian mafia in Slovakia and their ties to people close to Prime Minister Robert Fico.

The prime minister's Smer-Social Democracy party is allegedly also linked to other corruption scandals.

It’s not yet clear, however, if the resignation of the interior minister will be enough for the junior party in the government to remain in the ruling coalition.

The coalition party, known as Most-Hid, mostly represents ethnic-Hungarians in the country.

Its leadership was to meet later Monday to discuss the broader political implications of the first killing of a journalist in Slovakia's history.

Listen to Stefan Bos' report
12 March 2018, 17:30