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article imageSlovak president approves new cabinet

By AFP     Mar 21, 2018 in World

Slovak President Andrej Kiska on Wednesday approved a new cabinet after the last prime minister quit in a scandal over the murder of a journalist.

"I have decided that tomorrow I will appoint Mr (Peter) Pellegrini to the position of prime minister and I will accept his proposal for the nomination of the members of the new government," Kiska told reporters.

"I am not 100 percent satisfied with the composition of the new government. The government of Mr Pellegrini will have to fight for public confidence. In the current tense situation, it will be a very difficult task."

Pellegrini was chosen last week to lead a three-party coalition government in place of his ally Robert Fico.

Fico resigned after journalist Jan Kuciak's death sparked anti-government protests and raised concern about media freedom and corruption.

Kuciak and his fiancee, both 27, were found shot dead last month in their home near Bratislava.

Police said Kuciak's death was "most likely" related to his investigation into alleged ties between top politicians and Italian mafia.

Kiska had rejected Pellegrini's initial cabinet line-up, which included an interior minister nominee who knew the man he was to replace through the motorbike scene.

Kiska had criticised the choice by saying, "the last thing we need is a discussion of who was motorcycling with whom or attending whose birthday parties".

Pellegrini responded Tuesday by presenting a new name for interior minister: former Slovak Post CEO Tomas Drucker, who is non-partisan but was chosen to become health minister in 2016 by Fico and Pellegrini's Smer-SD party.

Of the 15 cabinet members, nine positions will remain unchanged from the previous administration.

Former health minister Richard Rasi will take over from Pellegrini as deputy prime minister for investments, while doctor Andrea Kalavska will replace Drucker as the head of the health ministry, where she had been the state secretary.

Smer-SD member Lubica Lassakova will become the culture minister, and lawyer Gabor Gal -- a lawmaker for the Most-Hid junior coalition partner -- will be the new justice minister.

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