Slovak PM Robert Fico in “Very Serious” Condition After Assassination Attempt

Thu May 16 2024
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BANSKA BYSTRICA: Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico’s condition has stabilized but is still “very serious”, his deputy said on Thursday, as officials urged calm and a suspension of European Union election campaigning a day after an attempt on Fico’s life.

The attack, described by government officials as a “political assault,” occurred during a public engagement, leaving the 59-year-old leader with serious gunshot wounds.

Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kalinak provided an update on Fico’s condition, stating that while it has stabilized to some extent, it remains precarious due to the complexity of his injuries. Surgeons at Banska Bystrica hospital held a marathon five-hour surgery.

The aftermath of the incident has prompted calls for unity and restraint from political figures across the spectrum. Slovak President-elect Peter Pellegrini, a close ally of Fico, urged all political parties to halt or significantly scale back their European election campaigns. Outgoing President Zuzana Caputova emphasized the need to break the cycle of animosity and division.

The alleged perpetrator, reported to be a 71-year-old writer, was swiftly apprehended by authorities at the scene of the attack in Handlova. While the motive behind the assault remains unclear, speculation abounds regarding potential political motivations, given Slovakia’s history of polarized politics and recent controversies surrounding Fico’s leadership.

Analysts have characterized the attack as unprecedented in Slovak political history.

Fico’s tenure as Prime Minister has been marked by both political triumphs and controversies. Despite facing calls for resignation in the aftermath of a high-profile journalist’s murder, which exposed rampant corruption within the government, Fico managed to return to power. However, his recent remarks on foreign policy, particularly regarding Ukraine and Russia, have stirred controversy and triggered mass protests.

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