Slovak President Urges Premier to Fight Graft to Stop Far Right

  • President urges cabinet to probe crimes with political links
  • Slovakia shall have ‘zero tolerance’ towards extermism

Slovak President Andrej Kiska urged the government to tackle corruption, saying a failure to investigate cases with political links may contribute to a rise of the far right in the future.

The administration of Robert Fico has so far failed to meet its pledge to eliminate corruption, Kiska told lawmakers in Bratislava on Thursday. He criticized the government for not investigating crimes with political links, including alleged tax fraud by Ladislav Basternak, a real estate developer with business ties to the Interior Minister Robert Kalinak. Kalinak has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

“People’s trust in the state has dropped to minimum,” Kiska said in his annual address at parliament. “I want to warn you that if this trend continues it may be difficult, if not impossible, to create a government of democratic parties after the next elections.”

Fico leads a broad ruling coalition that brought together former foes after the far-right Slovak People’s Party won seats in March elections. Even as Slovakia, which takes over the rotating European Union presidency in July, is among the fastest growing countries in the euro area, the dissatisfaction of citizens with poor state services and a failure to tackle high-level corruption has led to a surge of support for protest parties.

Kiska has refused to meet with leaders of the People’s Party, who have praised Slovakia’s World War II fascist regime. The president said the country of 5.4 million people should have zero tolerance toward extremism.

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