Slovak Interior Minister to Quit Amid Protests Over Police Chief

(Bloomberg) -- Slovak Interior Minister Tomas Drucker said he would resign, becoming the first member of a month-old government to leave his post as mass demonstrations continue over a recent murder of an investigative journalist.

Facing calls from the protesters to dismiss police President Tibor Gaspar, Drucker said he couldn’t find evidence to justify such a move and would instead quit himself. While the police chief is a polarizing figure, the state “shouldn’t be governed by pressure” from the streets, Drucker told reporters in the capital Bratislava on Monday.

Read more: How a Reporter’s Murder Forced Out Slovakia’s Premier

Together with calls for early elections, the replacement of the head of police is a key demand of protesters who continue to hold weekly rallies despite the resignation of veteran Prime Minister Robert Fico last month. Drucker’s decision is a complication for Fico’s successor, Peter Pellegrini, who is trying to win back trust of the public frustrated by the state’s inability to investigate high-level corruption.

The six-week long political crisis was sparked by the murder of reporter Jan Kuciak, who was working on a story about links between organized crime gangs and politicians. It’s taken a toll on the ruling Smer party, which is still headed by Fico. While Smer maintained the premiership in the three-party coalition, its support fell to about 20 percent, recent polls show, from 28 percent in got in 2016 general elections.

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