Slovakia’s President Andrej Kiska called Sunday for either substantial changes in the government or snap elections in the wake of the murder of an investigative journalist and his fiancee.
“There’s a huge public distrust of the state,” Kiska said in a televised speech Sunday. “And many don’t trust law enforcement authorities. This distrust is justified. We crossed the line, things went too far, and there’s no way back.”
Kiska also said that he would pursue talks with the country’s leaders in the coming days on how to rebuild the trust of the people of Slovakia, who were shocked by the murder of Jan Kuciak and concerned about media freedom and corruption.
Kiska’s political rival, Prime Minister Robert Fico, dismissed the president’s proposals.
Kuciak and his girlfriend, Martina Kusnirova, were found dead last week in their home east of Bratislava. Investigators said Kuciak’s death was “most likely” linked to his reporting — marking the first time a journalist’s death in Slovakia was linked to his or her work.
Kuciak’s story, which his organization published after his death last week, describes the alleged connection between a suspected member of the Italian ‘Ndrangheta organized crime family in Slovakia and two senior aides to Fico.
Thousands attended candlelit anti-corruption protests and memorials held across Slovakia on Friday in reaction to Kuciak’s murder.
Organizers estimated that about 25,000 people gathered in Bratislava, while thousands more paid tribute to Kuciak in other cities and towns across the EU country of 5.4 million people.