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Slovak Government Resigns Over Slain Journalist Crisis

Robert Fico

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico and his government resigned on March 15 amid a political crisis sparked by the killings of an investigative journalist and his fiancee.

President Andrej Kiska accepted Fico's resignation and asked Peter Pellegrini, Fico's deputy prime minister, to form a new government.

The decision is meant to keep the current three-party coalition in power and avoid the possibility of early elections.

"Early elections would not bring any stability," Fico said.

Slovakia's next general election is due in 2020.

Pellegrini, who also is from Fico's leftist Smer Social Democracy party, will form the same coalition as the previous government -- with the Most-Hid party representing ethnic Hungarians and the ultranationalist Slovak National Party.

Tens of thousands of Slovaks joined in protests across the country last week to demand the government's resignation and a thorough investigation of the killings of Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova.

Kuciak, 27, was writing about ties between the Italian mafia and people close to Fico. In some of his articles, Kuciak tackled corruption scandals linked to Fico's party.

The protests were the biggest in Slovakia after the fall of communism. More demonstrations are scheduled for March 16 despite's Fico's move, amid continued calls for early elections.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, Reuters, and dpa