Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, July 9th, 2020

Anti-Graft Party Wins Slovakia Vote Haunted by Journalist Murder

Anti-Graft Party Wins Slovakia Vote  Haunted by Journalist Murder

BRATISLAVA - Slovak voters handed a resounding victory to the centre-right, anti-graft OLaNO opposition party in Saturday's general election, dominated by an angry backlash over the 2018 murder of a journalist probing corruption in the eurozone state.
Having vowed to immediately push through anti-corruption measures when in office, OLaNO leader Igor Matovic galvanised voter outrage over the murder of Jan Kuciak and his fiancee, and the high-level graft their deaths exposed.
Allegedly a hit ordered by a businessman with connections to politicians, the killings have become a lightning rod for public outrage at graft in public life.
"People want us to clean up Slovakia. They want us to make Slovakia a fair country where laws will apply to everyone," Matovic told reporters as near full results showed his party had skyrocketed to victory.
"It was the death of Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova that woke up Slovakia," he said, vowing later in the night that his administration will have "zero tolerance for corruption."
"Change is much needed here," said Daniela Jonasova, a 35-year-old office clerk, who told AFP she voted for OLaNO.
The double murder triggered the largest anti-government protests since communist times and toppled Fico as prime minister, with his party colleague Peter Pellegrini taking up the reins.
It also propelled Zuzana Caputova, a liberal lawyer and anti-graft activist, out of nowhere to win last year's presidential race in the country of 5.4 million people.
Heavily dependent on car-making, economic growth in the Slovak economy is projected to slow to 2.2 percent this year, according to the European Commission's latest forecast.
Unemployment is relatively low and stood at around 5.6 percent in late 2019.
Turnout tallied at 65.63 percent of the electorate, near full results showed, up from 59.8 in 2016. (AFP)