Slovenia minister resigns over procurement equipment probe

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) — Slovenia’s interior minister on Tuesday stepped down in protest of an investigation against the economy minister in the procurement of medical equipment during the coronavirus outbreak.

Ales Hojs said that the probe was politically motivated and directed against the center-right government of Prime Minister Janez Jansa. Hojs said the police commissioner also has resigned.

Slovenian media say the police conducted house searches as part of the probe by the National Bureau of Investigation against Economy Minister Zdravko Pocivalsek and other suspects.

Hojs said Pocivalsek's movement was restricted during the search. He criticized what he described as a “political police force ... serving the deep state and not the citizens.”

Jansa's coalition government took office in March after the resignation of his liberal predecessor.

The new government has faced weeks of street protests that started initially after accusations of political pressure surfaced in the procurement of medical equipment. Government critics also have accused Jansa of attempts to curb media and other freedoms in the country.

Some opposition parties on Tuesday called for the resignation of the entire government.

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