March 26, 2018 / 8:55 PM / 8 months ago

Reshuffled Slovak government wins confidence vote in parliament

FILE PHOTO: Slovak deputy Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini talks to the journalists after the meeting with President of Slovakia Andrej Kiska, at the Presidential Palace in Bratislava, Slovakia, March 15, 2018. David W. Cerny/Reuters

(Reuters) - A reshuffled Slovak government led by Peter Pellegrini won a parliamentary confidence vote on Monday, a month after the murder of an investigative journalist sparked mass protests and forced long-serving leader Robert Fico to resign.

The new government won 81 votes in the 150-member parliament.

Fico, prime minister for 10 of the last 12 years, bowed out this month amid protests and calls for an early election, handing the three-party ruling coalition to Pellegrini, a long-time senior member of the ruling Smer party.

The new cabinet has adopted its predecessor’s agenda, including plans to reach a balanced budget by 2020. It underwent six personnel changes but only added two people who have not previously held any government post.

Pellegrini has pledged to keep Slovakia on a pro-European and pro-NATO path.

Fico had sought to position Slovakia - a country of 5.4 million that is an European Union member since 2004 and part of the euro zone monetary club - as a pro-EU bastion in a eurosceptic region.

Reporting by Tatiana Jancarikova; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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