Slovak president appoints Peter Pellegrini as new prime minister

Slovak president appoints Peter Pellegrini as new prime minister

Slovakia President Andrej Kiska appointed Peter Pellegrini as prime minister on Thursday to end a political crisis touched off by the murder of an investigative journalist that led to mass protests and veteran leader Robert Fico's resignation.

Newly appointed Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini attends a ceremony in Bratislava
Newly appointed Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini attends a ceremony in Bratislava, Slovakia, March 22, 2018. REUTERS/David W Cerny

BRATISLAVA: Slovak President Andrej Kiska appointed Peter Pellegrini as prime minister on Thursday to end a political crisis touched off by the murder of an investigative journalist that led to mass protests and the resignation of veteran leader Robert Fico.

In Slovakia's biggest protests in three decades of democracy, tens of thousands have taken to the streets demanding a new government and a fair investigation into last month's killing of Jan Kuciak, 27, who probed fraud cases involving businessmen with political ties.

The ruling Smer party picked Pellegrini, a 42-year-old deputy prime minister, to replace Fico and keep the three-party government afloat midway through its term.

It also chose non-partisan Tomas Drucker to head the Interior Ministry and meet the demands of the protesters and of President Kiska to install a person who can secure an independent investigation into the killing of Kuciak.

Kiska had rejected Pellegrini's first interior minister nominee and said on Wednesday he was not entirely satisfied with the proposed cabinet but had reached the limit of his presidential powers.

Many Slovaks do not believe that Pellegrini, hand-picked by Fico, and Drucker will safeguard a fair investigation of Kuciak's murder while the Smer party, often a target of the reporter's investigative journalism, remains in power.

Protest organisers plan another demonstration on Friday, the fourth week in a row.

(Reporting by Tatiana Jancarikova; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Source: Reuters

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