Ex-Slovak President Starts Party on Outrage Over Reporter Murder

Radoslav Tomek
(Bloomberg) -- Slovakia’s former president launched a political party to capitalize on public discontent with the ruling leftists who are struggling to contain the fallout from a journalist's murder before the 2020 election.Anti-government sentiment has been rising in the ex-communist European Union nation for over a year since the killing of an investigative reporter exposed links between politicians, law enforcement officials and organized crime.Andrej Kiska, who didn’t seek re-election before his term ended June 15, is joining a wide group of opposition forces seeking to unseat the Smer party that’s dominated the country’s politics for over a decade. Priorities of the new pro-European grouping include restoring justice, improving health care and education, Kiska said.“We are angry, we are disappointed, we know what needs to be done and we want to do it,” Kiska, a frequent critic of the Smer-led coalition cabinet during his term, told reporters in the central Slovak town of Banska Bystrica on Monday.Read more how the protest movement upended Slovak politicsThe wave of public outrage gave rise to new political outfits and propelled civic activist Zuzana Caputova to succeed Kiska and become Slovakia’s first female president. One of the leaders of protests that led to the resignation of veteran Prime Minister Robert Fico last year has joined Kiska’s party.The former president, who was the most trusted politician as recently as last year, slipped to the fifth place in June, according to a survey by the Focus pollster. The poll also showed that a party led by Kiska would muster 6.2% support, just enough to pass the 5% threshold for entering parliament.To contact the reporter on this story: Radoslav Tomek in Bratislava at rtomek@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrea Dudik at adudik@bloomberg.net, Peter Laca, Andrew LangleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

(Bloomberg) -- Slovakia’s former president launched a political party to capitalize on public discontent with the ruling leftists who are struggling to contain the fallout from a journalist's murder before the 2020 election.

Anti-government sentiment has been rising in the ex-communist European Union nation for over a year since the killing of an investigative reporter exposed links between politicians, law enforcement officials and organized crime.

Andrej Kiska, who didn’t seek re-election before his term ended June 15, is joining a wide group of opposition forces seeking to unseat the Smer party that’s dominated the country’s politics for over a decade. Priorities of the new pro-European grouping include restoring justice, improving health care and education, Kiska said.

“We are angry, we are disappointed, we know what needs to be done and we want to do it,” Kiska, a frequent critic of the Smer-led coalition cabinet during his term, told reporters in the central Slovak town of Banska Bystrica on Monday.

Read more how the protest movement upended Slovak politics

The wave of public outrage gave rise to new political outfits and propelled civic activist Zuzana Caputova to succeed Kiska and become Slovakia’s first female president. One of the leaders of protests that led to the resignation of veteran Prime Minister Robert Fico last year has joined Kiska’s party.

The former president, who was the most trusted politician as recently as last year, slipped to the fifth place in June, according to a survey by the Focus pollster. The poll also showed that a party led by Kiska would muster 6.2% support, just enough to pass the 5% threshold for entering parliament.

To contact the reporter on this story: Radoslav Tomek in Bratislava at rtomek@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrea Dudik at adudik@bloomberg.net, Peter Laca, Andrew Langley

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.