Does Slovakia's new government stand a chance?

Shaken by the murder of investigative reporter Ján Kuciak, Slovakia will get a new government today, Thursday. Former Prime Minister Robert Fico, who stepped down last week due to pressure from the street, has been replaced by his party colleague Peter Pellegrini. Commentators are not at all sure that the new government will calm the situation.

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Lidové noviny (CZ) /

There's nothing more protests can achieve now

The new Slovakian government should now be given a chance, writes Lidové noviny:

“If the opposition and the demonstrators now continue to insist on new elections it would be unfair, and what's more unreasonable. The Pellegrini government will very likely be given a vote of confidence. Snap elections entail the risk of Fico winning again and thus regaining his legitimacy. Other, equally legitimate strategies can serve to calm the situation and renew the people's trust in politics. However, the most promising is to give the government a chance and force it to deal with the remaining skeletons in its cupboard.”

Sme (SK) /

It's about creating a new political culture

Beata Balogová, editor-in-chief of Sme, takes a sceptical view of the situation:

“If anyone in the governing party believes that the flames of the political crisis have been extinguished, they're very mistaken. This party has not even begun its fight to regain the trust of society after the murder of Ján Kuciak and his fiancée. In urging the Slovaks not just to simulate a change, President Andrej Kiska went about as far as he could. The governing party is playing for time and hoping that a large section of society will give up its demand for integrity in politics, as has happened in the past. We can only hope that the country will closely follow all the government's decisions this time round. And also keep an eye on whose interests these decisions serve.”

Kurier (AT) /

Will Orbán be the next to go?

Civil society is far ahead of its government in some countries, Kurier comments:

“Free media and angry citizens left Fico no chance. Civil society in the former communist countries is further ahead than the leaders - from Hungary's Orbán to Poland's Kaczyński - are willing to admit. ... The governments in our neighbouring countries counted on full stomachs and new cars also satisfying the hunger for democracy and freedom. Far from it. The Slovakian Robert Fico is the first person forced to face up to that fact. Hungary's Orbán continues to fight against the liberal constitutional state, also in refusing to talk about corruption in his own country. So far he's been successful. But for how much longer?”

Új Szó (Slowakei) (SK) /

Just window dressing

Despite his resignation Fico will remain the strong man in Slovakian politics, Új Szó believes:

“This is certainly not the path to an honourable Slovakia. Because as leader of the biggest governing party Robert Fico will continue to rule the country as he wants, only now from the wings. The new Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini is nothing but a display dummy. ... And what's worse: now that Fico has ostensibly sacrificed himself the lower levels of the governing party Smer - whose mafia ties got us into this crisis in the first place - can breathe a sigh of relief: in other words all the regional Smer politicians who helped the Italian mafia - which is presumably behind the death of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová - to gain a foothold in eastern Slovakia.”

El Mundo (ES) /

Kuciak case not over yet

El Mundo agrees and calls for stronger intervention from the EU:

“Despite the EU's demands, a proper, independent investigation of the facts still hasn't taken place. Fico may be leaving the front line but he's still pulling the strings in the background. Today Slovakia is a black hole into which civil liberties disappear. The EU cannot tolerate this.”