Slovakia: ex-PM Fico facing criminal charges

Slovak investigators have accused former three-time prime minister Robert Fico and Robert Kaliňák, his interior minister for many years, of setting up a criminal organisation and committing tax offences. Kaliňák has been arrested, but as leader of the parliamentary opposition, Fico enjoys immunity for the time being. Commentators assess the implications.

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Denník N (SK) /

Hard evidence needed now

Denník N explains why the law cannot afford any mistakes here:

“Fico and Kaliňák are symbols of corruption, felony and the systematic looting of state funds. ... Anyone who is not completely blind has known for years what sort of a system we are living in. But we have now reached a point where the state needs to lay the evidence on the table. Collective consciousness is one thing, actual sentences are another. So we have to trust that the police and public prosecutor's office know what to do. That they have enough evidence to undertake such serious steps. The former prime minister and the former interior minister are not regular criminals. If the state fails, this could end in a major catastrophe.”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

A political coup

Lidové noviny explains why this affair will make waves:

“The reaction of the former prime minister was predictable. He described the whole thing as a politically motivated attempt to eliminate him as the face of the Slovak opposition. Presumably his supporters are already planning a massive social media campaign claiming that he is being persecuted for his political views. It would be very surprising if this failed to secure public support for his cause.”