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Slovak government to face no-confidence vote Monday

© 2018 AFP

13 March 2018

Slovak lawmakers will on Monday hold a no-confidence vote against the three-party coalition government, which has been struggling since the killing of a journalist probing alleged political corruption.

The parliament speaker on Tuesday put the motion on the agenda, a day after it was submitted by the liberal opposition party Freedom and Solidarity (SaS).

"With (Prime Minister Robert) Fico in government, an objective investigation into the double murder (of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee) is impossible," SaS leader Richard Sulik told reporters when announcing last week he would seek a vote of no confidence in the government.

The leftist premier will be able to survive the vote if there are few defections among the 81 lawmakers that support the government in the 150-member parliament.

But the government could collapse before then as junion coalition member Most-Hid said it would leave the government if it fails to talk partners into holding early elections.

The party made the call for snap elections on Monday, despite the interior minister's resignation hours earlier in a bid to save the coalition.

Fico, who like the interior minister belongs to the Smer-SD party, has so far refused to consider snap elections, while minor coalition partner the Slovak National Party said it was amenable to the idea.

"Snap elections appear to be the most likely solution," political analyst Juraj Marusiak told AFP, though he added that there could also be a minority government if Most-Hid leaves.

EU member Slovakia has been in crisis since February, when Kuciak and his fiancee were found shot dead at home in a killing police say was "most likely" related to the journalist's investigation into alleged ties between top Slovak politicians and Italian mafia.

An Italian businessman mentioned by Kuciak and wanted in Italy was detained by Slovak police on drug charges on Tuesday.