Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico says he is ready to step down to ease the political crisis engulfing the country. His coalition has come under mounting pressure following the murder of an investigative journalist.
Slovakia’s prime minister, Robert Fico, said Wednesday he was prepared to resign on the condition that his social democratic Smer-SD party gets to choose a successor.
“Today I have offered my resignation to the president of the republic,” Fico said. “If the president accepts it, I am ready to resign tomorrow.”
The shock announcement is seen as an attempt by the embattled prime minister to keep his three-party coalition in power and avoid snap polls.
“Early elections would be almost certainly accompanied by chaos and instability,” Fico said.
Fico’s government has been plunged into crisis following the murder of Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee in February. The 27-year-old reporter had been investigating high-level corruption and alleged Mafia links to politicians and businessmen in Slovakia.
The killings reignited debate about corruption and press freedom in Slovakia, triggering mass anti-government demonstrations across the country. Protesters also demanded Fico’s government step down and hold early elections.
Police have interviewed more than 100 people as part of the investigation into the deaths, but no one has yet been charged.