Slovakia’s coalition to face no confidence parliament vote

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Slovakia’s three-party coalition government will face a parliamentary no-confidence vote next week amid the political turmoil set off by the slayings of an investigative journalist and his fiancee.

The vote requested by the opposition, set for Monday, could spell the end of the ruling coalition that was created after the 2016 elections.

Formally, it will be a vote about Prime Minister Robert Fico, but if he loses his government collapses.

The move comes after tens of thousands of Slovaks joined in anti-government protests across the country last week to demand a thorough investigation of the shooting deaths of Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova, who were found shot dead Feb. 25 in their house. More protests to demand the government’s resignation are planned for Friday.

President Andrej Kiska proposed early elections as a way out of the crisis or introduce substantial changes in the government.

A three-fifth majority, or 90 lawmakers in the 150-seat Parliament, would have to support an early vote to make it happen.

Kuciak was writing about ties between the Italian mafia operating in Slovakia and people close to Fico, whose leftist party has been allegedly linked to corruption scandals.

The leaders of the three coalition parties were holding talks on Tuesday. Andrej Danko, the chairman of the ultranationalist Slovak National Party, told reporters no progress has been made.

Meanwhile, Slovak authorities have again detained an Italian businessman suspected in the slayings.

Prosecutor general spokeswoman Andreja Predajnova said Antonino Vadala was detained on Tuesday morning in the eastern town of Michalovce at the request of an Italian court that issued a European warrant for Vadala’s arrest due to a drugs-related crime. Italy seeks his extradition.

Vadala was among seven Italians who had been detained as suspects in the slayings and released.

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