New government to be formed in Slovakia

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Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters rallied across Slovakia on Friday to demand an early election to resolve a political crisis set off by the slayings of an investigative journalist and his fiancee. President Andrej Kiska accepted the resignation and asked Peter Pellegrini, Mr. Fico's deputy prime minister, to form a new government.

Slovakia's coalition leaders "deceived and humiliated the public", the organisers of the protests - young people who say they have no links to politics - said on Facebook.

Robert Fico's resignation as prime minister has failed to appease a public outraged over the murder of 27-year-old investigative journalist Jan Kuciak, who reported on fraud allegations against businessmen with political ties. The identity of his killers remains unknown.

Last week, they demanded a thorough investigation into the shooting deaths of reporter Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova in the biggest anti-government protest since the 1989 Velvet Revolution that toppled the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia.

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Interior minister Robert Kalinak and Culture Minister Marek Madaric already resigned earlier this week in a bid to save the government from collapsing.

"I'm not going anywhere", Fico said. "Let's stand up for a decent Slovakia and let's not give up!" His close ally Pellegrini was expected to announce appointments next week. The main concern among the protests' organizers is that Fico will continue to run the government from behind the scene like his fellow ruling-party bosses in Romania and Poland.

In his final report published after his death, Kuciak said one of these Italians had once been a business partner of two Slovaks who later worked in Fico's office.

In his last article that was published posthumously, Mr. Kuciak was writing about the alleged misuse of European Union funds in Slovakia and potential links between organized crime groups and people close to Prime Minister Fico. The Italian businessman has denied any mafia connections. In Bratislava only, more than 40,000 people participated in the rally on March 9.

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