Opposition Demands Cabinet’s Resignation and Kalinak’s Prosecution

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Opposition representatives, Igor Matovic (L), Veronika Remisova, Richard Sulik and Lubomir Galko at a press conference held on August 3, 2018 (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, August 3 (TASR) – The most popular Opposition parties Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) and Ordinary People (OLaNO) demand the prosecution of MP and ex-interior minister Robert Kalinak (Smer-SD) and the chief of protocol Radovan Culak in custody and the resignation of the entire Government of Peter Pellegrini (Smer-SD) in response to the alleged involvement of Slovakia in the kidnapping of a Vietnamese businessman, TASR learnt on Friday.

The Opposition maintains that if Kalinak is allowed to walk free during the investigation, he might influence witnesses.

“We expect resolute action by the investigative bodies. We insist that all police officers involved in the case should give their testimonies without delay and be assigned increased protection. We don’t want them to be exposed to pressure instructing them to forget what they saw,” said SaS vice-chair Lubomir Galko.

According to OLaNO caucus head Veronika Remisova, it’s unacceptable for the Slovak Government to participate in the kidnapping and allow itself to be used by a secret service of a developing country. “If we allow state bodies to be abused in this way, we’re turning the clock back to Meciarism [a reference to the 1995 kidnapping of former president Michal Kovac’s son by the Slovak Intelligence Service under the government of Vladimir Meciar – ed.note]. Such abuse of the government hotel and government aircraft for operations of a foreign secret service constitute an egregious violation of Slovakia’s sovereignty,” she stated.

Remisova believes that Kalinak and others attempting to cover up the kidnapping probably committed several misdeeds. “Prosecutor-General Jaromir Ciznar should immediately form an investigative team and take action. If he remains passive as before, he’s contributing towards covering up these crimes through his inaction. Ciznar needs to respond instantly at the emergence of mere suspicions, not after the media or Opposition draw attention to something. The fact that they’ve failed to investigate this yet is an enormous failure,” she claimed.

The OLaNO caucus chair is convinced that aside from Smer-SD, the junior coalition Slovak National Party (SNS) also failed, as head of the Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) Anton Safarik is its nominee. “What good is such an SIS worth if the secret service of another country conducts an operation right under its nose? If SIS was aware of this and didn’t report it, the agency helped to cover up these serious crimes. If it wasn’t aware, it’s management should be ousted,” she said.

Because of this Remisova harbours the conviction that the entire Government should step down for jeopardizing Slovakia’s security and sovereignty. “They’ve lost the right to govern. It seems that Pellegrini was misleading our German allies and his own people,” claimed Remisova, adding that the Cabinet is damaging Slovakia’s good reputation.

SaS chair Richard Sulik believes that Kalinak has turned out to be the worst interior minister in the history of Slovakia. “He’s dangerous, completely unscrupulous. If these suspicions prove to be true, then he used the state to curry favours with his buddies,” he claimed.

On Thursday (August 2), Dennik N released a report according to which the Vietnamese entrepreneur was kidnapped via Bratislava with the aid of the Slovak authorities and on board a government aircraft. The ministry called the report complete nonsense, adding that it contains lies and fabrications and is nothing but “pure sci-fi” by the author. Earlier in the month German media reported that German investigators are confident that the Slovak government aircraft was used in the kidnapping.