Slovakia MPs okay cabinet despite calls for snap polls

27 Mar 2018 / 18:28 H.

BRATISLAVA: Slovakia's parliament on Monday approved a new government appointed by Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, whose predecessor quit in a scandal over an investigative journalist's murder that sparked mass protests.
The ministers' appointment last week led thousands of people to take to the streets across Slovakia on Friday to call for snap elections.
Eighty-one MPs in the 150-seat assembly voted in favour of the new cabinet, an official statement said.
The new line-up retains most of the same people from the previous administration of Robert Fico, who analysts believe will continue to call the shots from behind the scenes as he remains chairman of Pellegrini's Smer-SD party.
Pellegrini and outgoing interior minister Robert Kalinak are the party's deputy chairmen.
Journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova, both 27, were found shot dead last month in their home near Bratislava.
Police said Kuciak's death was "most likely" related to his investigation into alleged ties between top politicians and Italy's powerful 'Ndrangheta mafia.
Pellegrini condemned the murder, calling it "an attack on freedom of speech" and saying the government "will do everything to investigate this abominable act".
His death has raised concerns about media freedom and corruption in the EU member country of 5.4 million people and sparked weekly anti-government protests.
Pellegrini said ahead of Monday's vote that he hoped the approval of the new team from the three-party coalition would "end the torment in Slovakia" and restore stability.
"We will do everything possible to ensure that honest people can live well and that those who commit crimes will be punished," he told the TASR news agency. — AFP

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