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Slovak Prime Minister Pellegrini survives no-confidence vote

Slovak Prime Minister Pellegrini survives no-confidence vote
FILE PHOTO: Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini arrives at the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 20, 2019. Julien Warnard/Pool via REUTER -
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BRATISLAVA (Reuters) – Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini survived a no-confidence vote on Tuesday, days after losing his formal majority in parliament and as revelations about the reach of the main suspect in the murder of a journalist pressure his government.

The 2018 killings of investigative reporter Jan Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova shone a spotlight on corruption in Slovakia and sparked mass protests that forced then-Prime Minister Robert Fico to resign.

Kuciak had uncovered fraud cases involving politically connected businessmen, among them Marian Kocner, one of five people now awaiting trial for the killings and an acquaintance of politicians from various parties.

Special prosecutors said last month that Kocner’s phone showed communications with “representatives of state bodies and the justice system”. A deputy justice minister resigned this month after her mobile phone was seized by the police, although she denied any contacts with Kocner.

Pellegrini has not been shown to have been in contact with Kocner but opposition parties called the no-confidence vote when he refused to remove the minister who later quit. He won Tuesday’s vote with support from independents after the departure of two lawmakers from a junior coalition party this week cost the government its formal majority in the 150-member parliament.

(Reporting By Tatiana Jancarikova; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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