Following the death of 27-year-old journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancé, Martina Kusnirova, Slovakia has plunged deeper into a political crisis amid deteriorating relations between its Prime Minister Robert Fico and President Andrej Kiska.
Both Kuciak and Kusnirova were found shot dead in Kuciak’s house on February 24th. The journalist had been examining the alleged ‘mafia structure’ connections between Slovakian politicians and the Italian mafia group.
n a televised address to the country, Prime Minister Fico displayed €1 million Euros on a table, offering the money to anyone with a lead in the murder case.
The offer has done little to dampen widespread public rancour at the handling of the case. Earlier this month, around 20,000 citizens protested in towns and cities across Slovakia for an end to corruption in the state. Many protesters have even demanded that Fico call a snap election.
The populist Prime Minister responded by suggesting that the opposition parties and media were trying to “dance on the graves” of the murdered couple. Fico then accused the Slovakian President, Andrej Kiska, of colluding with philanthropist George Soros.
Fico said: “Should we have any problems, we will solve them on our own, and by no means do we need a President who suddenly talks about a substantial reconstruction of the government …or [speaks] about early elections”.
“I want to ask the President a simple question today at this press conference. On September 20th, 2017, New York, Fifth Avenue, I wonder why the head of state of the Slovak Republic went to a private meeting with a man who has a very dubious reputation, and that man is called Mr Soros”.
In spite of the political furore surrounding the case, police have been unable to locate the couple’s killer(s). Seven Italians in eastern Slovakia were detained for questioning but have since been released.