Slovakia. At the beginning of the year, the Deputy
Prosecutor resigned after admitting Facebook contact with a
woman suspected of involvement in the murder of journalist
JŠn Kuciak 2018. According to
CountryAAH, the murder of Kuciak had triggered major
demonstrations and led to the Prime Minister's departure. In
February tens of thousands of people went to Bratislava and
other cities to mark the anniversary of the murder and
protest the government's weakness against the corruption.
In March, another deputy prosecutor was forced to resign.
Media revealed that he exchanged hundreds of messages with
the entrepreneur who was suspected and charged with ordering
the murder of Kuciak. The journalist had examined the
entrepreneur's suspected corruption.
There was a popular anger over the corruption, and before
the March presidential election, popular environmental
lawyer Zuzana ČaputovŠ sailed as a favorite. Her
anti-corruption message was supported by several opposition
parties, the outgoing president and a majority in the
ČaputovŠ won the first round clearly ahead of the Smere
candidate, EU Commissioner Maroš Šefčovič. They both went to
a second round, with ČaputovŠ winning over Šefčovič with
58.4% of the vote against 41.6%. Zuzana ČaputovŠ thus became
the country's first female president and the youngest
She began her mission to criticize China's human rights
violations, which is unusual for a leader in Eastern Europe
where Chinese investment is welcomed, for example in
ČaputovŠ continued to call on the so-called Visegrad
Group - Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary - to
defend the rule of law, democracy and freedom and not to
weaken the EU. Without pointing them out, it was obvious
that she was referring to Hungary and Poland.
Government-friendly Hungarian media accused ČaputovŠ of
being the agent of Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros.
Slovakia has long been the world's largest car
manufacturer per inhabitant, breaking a record of more than
1 million manufactured cars in 2018, but in June 2019 car
production dropped significantly for the first time in a
long time. This contributed to the country's overall economy
slowing in the second quarter by almost half the growth
compared to the first quarter.
In September, the Deputy Minister of Justice resigned
after being accused of contacts with one of the suspects in
the Kuciak murder. Prosecutors said they secured mobile
communications between the accused and a number of civil
servants in the state and the judiciary.
The government lost more support in Parliament, and the
opposition demanded distrust. However, with the help of
independent members, the government managed to win the vote.
In September, tens of thousands of people in Bratislava
demonstrated with demands for a ban on abortion. In
Catholic-dominated Slovakia, abortion is allowed on request
up to the twelfth week and abortion for health reasons until
week 24. Parliament would consider proposals for stricter
abortion law during the fall.
In October, a well-known entrepreneur and three other
people were indicted for the murder of journalist JŠn Kuciak
and his fiancee 2018. Three of them denied, while the
fourth, a former professional soldier, admitted that he shot
the two. A fifth involved in the murder had settled with
prosecutors to testify against the others. He was later
sentenced to 15 years in prison.
According to police, four of the defendants were also
suspected of having ordered the murder of two prosecutors
and a lawyer, the latter having worked for Kuciak's family.
When Parliament voted in October for a ban on polls for
50 days before an election, President ČaputovŠ vetoed the
law. The opposition saw the decision as an attempt to
silence challengers from new parties.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament from the ruling Smer
resigned in November because of contacts with the
entrepreneur charged with ordering the murder of JŠn Kuciak.
In December, opposition leader and former president
Andrej Kiska was indicted for fraud, a crime that can result
in up to twelve years in prison.