Prime Minister Robert Fico resigned on Thursday following mass protests and political turmoil over the murder of a journalist who delved into corruption and links between organized crime and politics.
An investigative journalist from Aktuality, Jan Kuciak, 27, was killed in his home along with his fiancee in late February, likely because of his research into the connections between the Italian ‘Ndrangheta mafia and the Slovak government. His stories were published posthumously by OCCRP and Aktuality.
The stories indicated links between high-ranking members of Fico’s government and the Calabrian-mafia that infiltrated Eastern Slovakia and defrauded the state of EU money coming from agriculture subsidies.
Although he offered a million euros for information that could lead to Kuciak’s killer, Fico has previously referred to journalists as “prostitutes,” “dirt,” and “idiots.”
His resignation comes after vocal criticism from coalition members and the largest anti-government protests since the fall of communism, which Fico claimed were part of a plot against him.
After talks with coalition partners, Fico stepped down, and his deputy, Peter Pellegrini, was mandated to form a new government.
Fico will remain in the ruling Smer party, as an aid to the new prime minister. According to the Guardian, he stated in a press conference that he is committed to politics and being an active party leader.
A wealthy Slovak businessman is accused of ordering the murder of a Slovak journalist and his fiancee last year. But questions remain about what powerful former officials may have known.
The son of Azerbaijan’s president has a previously undiscovered property near Moscow worth tens of millions of dollars.