More than 30,000 Slovaks supported President Andrej Kiska’s call for the resignation of the national police chief, in the wake of the crisis caused by the murder of a journalist investigating the corruption.
About 30,000 people gathered in Bratislava on Thursday according to the daily SME, holding signs saying “shame on you” and “Gaspar, resign! referring to police chief Tibor Gaspar. Other rallies were held across the country.
President Andrej Kiska, a liberal, disagreeing with the populist left-wing government, said earlier in the day to the press that he was counting on the dismissal of Tibor Gaspar “in the coming days”.
“I told the Minister of the Interior that the replacement of key police officials, including the chief of police, Mr. Gaspar, was a crucial issue for us to begin to restore confidence in the police” said Kiska, according to the local TASR information service.
The political crisis in Slovakia was triggered by the murder in February of journalist Jan Kuciak, who investigated corruption and links between Italian businessmen suspected of relations with the Calabrian mafia, the ‘Ndrangheta, and Slovak politicians, including people in close to then Prime Minister Robert Fico.
The latter has since resigned, replaced by Peter Pellegrini who leads a tripartite coalition made up mostly of people who belonged to the previous government.
The new head of government said on Thursday that the interior minister would decide the future of Mr. Gaspar after taking note of the facts.
“I will never order the Minister of the Interior to dismiss the police chief because that would prove that the police remain under the authority of the political power, which I totally reject,” said Pellegrini to the pre.