Slovakia’s Prime Minister Offers To Resign Amid Protest Over Journalist’s Murder

The prime minister of Slovakia said Wednesday that he is ready to bow to demands for his resignation as the country's ruling coalition sought to calm anger sparked by the murder of an investigative journalist and his fiancée.

Premier Robert Fico told reporters in the capital that he was prepared to leave office if his left-wing Smer-Social Democracy party is allowed to choose his successor.

"I visited the president today, together with the coalition partners, and I proposed that in order to solve the political crisis I am ready to resign as prime minister," Fico said in a televised news conference.

As Reuters notes, "President Andrej Kiska has called for a government revamp or early elections to rebuild what he says is a crisis of trust."

The offer to resign follows Slovakia's largest protests since the Velvet Revolution of 1989. Demonstrators are calling for a thorough investigation of the shooting deaths of Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova. At the time of his death last month, Kuciak, 27, had been writing about ties between the Italian mafia and individuals close to Fico.

Deutsche Welle reports: "The killings reignited debate about corruption and press freedom in Slovakia, triggering mass anti-government demonstrations across the country."

No one has been charged with the murders, although police have interviewed more than 100 people as part of their probe.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, reporting from Bratislava, says, "many Slovaks say Fico's departure won't be enough. They say the reputation of his government has been damaged."

If the Slovak president accepts Fico's resignation, his successor could be named on Thursday, Soraya says.

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