Slovakia's ex-premier Pellegrini to form new political party

Former Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini has announced a plan to leave his leftist party to establish a new center-left political organization

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia -- Former Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini announced Wednesday a plan to leave his leftist party to establish a new center-left political organization.

The result sent Smer to the opposition while a new four-party coalition government took over.

Pellegrini became the prime minister after Fico’s coalition government was forced to resign by the massive anti-government street protests in 2018 following the slayings of an investigative reporter and his fiancee. Investigators linked Jan Kuciak’s death to his work probing possible widespread government corruption.

Pellegrini called on Fico, considered a populist leader, to resign from his party post. He said Wednesday their future cooperation wasn't possible anymore.

Pellegrini said he wants to form a new center-left party, saying he would be doing it from scratch and expected other Smer lawmakers to join him. He didn't provide further details.

A recent poll suggested it might be as popular as the Ordinary People led by Prime Minister Igor Matovic, a center-right group that won the the Feb. 29 election.