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.

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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