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Robert Fico Slovakia president accepts PM resignation: coalition partner

Fico's Smer-SD party will put forward a candidate to replace him, according to Most-Hid, the smallest party in Slovakia's three-way government.

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Slovak PM Robert Fico had faced mounting pressure to resign in the scandal over a murdered journalist play

Slovak PM Robert Fico had faced mounting pressure to resign in the scandal over a murdered journalist

(AFP)

Slovakia's president has accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Robert Fico, who offered to step down after facing a public backlash over the murder of a journalist, a junior partner in the ruling coalition said Thursday.

Fico's Smer-SD party will put forward a candidate to replace him, according to Most-Hid, the smallest party in Slovakia's three-way government.

"Smer-SD as the strongest (coalition) party will table its candidate for prime minister. The president has agreed to this," Most-Hid chairman Bela Bugar told journalists Thursday.

"One third of the government members will be replaced," he added.

President Andrej Kiska was to make a statement later Thursday, his office said.

Slovak media reported that deputy prime minister Peter Pellegrini, 42, was tipped to succeed Fico.

Fico, 53, has been struggling to get on top of the scandal sparked by last month's deadly shooting of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee at their home near Bratislava.

Police said Kuciak's death was "most likely" related to his investigation on ties between Slovakia's top politicians and Italy's 'Ndrangheta mafia.

The murder and Kuciak's article, published after his death, sparked a wave of anti-government sentiment in Slovakia, an EU and NATO member of 5.4 million people.

The premier's ruling coalition was facing a no-confidence vote by lawmakers scheduled for next Monday.

Interior minister Robert Kalinak and Culture Minister Marek Madaric already resigned earlier this week in a bid to save the government from collapsing.

Fico has been in power since 2012. He is known abroad for his anti-immigrant stance.

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