Slovak PM's ally resigns amid political crisis

50,000 people protest in Bratislava against Slovak PM

The Most-Hid (Bridge) party, a centrist group representing the ethnic Hungarian minority in Slovakia, said on Monday it wanted a deal with coalition partners on a snap election or it would leave the government.

A political crisis in Slovakia set off by the slayings of an investigative journalist and his fiancee deepened Monday when a junior party in the governing coalition called for resolving the situation by holding early elections.

"Smer may still win the early election despite the loss of some voters but Fico's aggressive communication weakens its coalition potential", political analyst Aneta Vilagi said.

"If talks about early elections fail, Most-Hid will exit the ruling coalition", he added.

Fico's coalition holds a narrow majority of 78 seats in the 150-member parliament.

Slovak President Andrej Kiska had also called for early elections - or sweeping government changes - earlier this month, which Fico initially blasted as "an attempt to totally destabilise our country" before backing down last week.

SNS and Smer are expected to react to Most-Hid's decision on Tuesday, Slovak news websites reported.

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Bugar's announcement means the government created after the 2016 general election could fall apart soon.

For an early election, 90 votes in parliament are needed.

But many blame Fico for failing to fight graft and cronyism.

Before Most-Hid announced its demand, Fico still seemed intent on continuing the coalition government.

Echoing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Fico has accused foreign forces of trying to destabilise Slovakia and has questioned the president's meetings with financier George Soros in NY a year ago.

The death of Kuciak, who probed fraud cases involving politically-connected businessmen, has stoked public anger over persistent corruption allegations and sparked mass protests.

Monday's announcement came three days after tens of thousands of Slovaks joined in anti-government protests across the country to demand a thorough investigation of the shooting deaths of Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova. One of the Italians Kuciak wrote about had co-owned firms with two Slovaks who went on to work in Fico's office. Both have resigned but deny links to the murder. Before he was killed, he had been investigating Italian businessmen in Slovakia with suspected mafia links. No one has been charged in the killings. Critics say Kalinak, who oversees the police as interior minister, can not guarantee an independent investigation into the killing of Kuciak and his fiancee in late February.

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