The Slovak Prime Minister, Peter Pellegrini, managed to defeat a no-confidence on Tuesday, despite his government coming under immense pressure with regards to the amount of influence that there was on the main suspect in the 2018 murder of a journalist.
Jan Kuciak, an investigative reporter who uncovered several fraud cases, particularly ones involving politically connected businessmen, was murdered in 2018, along with his fiancée Martina Kusnirova, who also had a hand in uncovering such fraudulent cases in Slovakia, resulting in the biggest protests since the end of communism way back in 1989.
Kuciak was the first journalist murdered in Slovakia ever since the country gained its independence, causing massive amounts of shock throughout the whole country.
A total of five people have been charged with the killings and are still awaiting trial, one of which being high-profile businessman Marian Kocner, with Kocner’s business deals often featuring as a topic in Kuciak’s stories.
Due to these charges, every contact with Kocner, in particular several politicians that were acquaintances with him, have ended up becoming toxic upon the news of such charges.
Last month, special prosecutors stated that they had been able to extract thousands of messages from Kocner’s phone, with some communications being with “representatives of state bodies and the justice system.”
To make matters worse for the government and everyone involved with Kocner, the Slovak media published several parts of messages that Kocner allegedly had with a woman that was also charged in the killing and with his business allies, with these messages containing discussions about Kocner’s connections with the authorities.
A deputy justice minister was forced to resign earlier on this month after her mobile phone was seized by the police, yet despite all of this, she denied that she had any contact with Kocner.
Whilst Pellegrini is not personally mentioned or implicated in Kocner’s messages, numerous opposition parties have called for a no-confidence vote after he refused to remove the deputy justice minister from her duties until she was formally charged.
Despite lacking the numbers to defeat the prime minister, the opposition parties went on with the no-confidence vote even after the deputy justice minister fully resigned.
However, several protestors will take to the streets on Friday, causing even more pressure on the government than before, with these protestors aiming to “support courageous prosecutors and police officers and call for a trustworthy government.”
With there being an upcoming general election in February, the current ruling party, Smer is still the strongest, having around 20% in polls due to its welfare spending and the very strong economy that it has managed to build up. However, a new pro-EU/liberal coalition is catching up to Smer in the polls, receiving around 15% support from the public.