Slovak PM’s condition improves after assassination attempt

20 May 2024, 12:54

Hospital building with flowers outside
Slovakia Prime Minister. Picture: PA

The 59-year-old was shot last week in the town of Handlova.

Slovak populist Prime Minister Robert Fico’s condition is improving following an assassination attempt last week that shocked the country, officials said.

The hospital treating the Slovak leader in the central city of Banska Bystrica said: “After today’s consultation, the patient’s condition is stabilised.”

A statement released by the clinic said Mr Fico is “clinically improving, communicating … inflammatory parameters are slowly decreasing”.

It added that Mr Fico remains at the clinic for the time being.

Slovakian church
Mr Fico was given a positive prognosis four days after he was shot multiple times (AP)

On Sunday, the clinic said that Mr Fico, 59, was no longer in a life-threating condition after he was shot in the abdomen as he greeted supporters on Wednesday outside a cultural centre in the town of Handlova, nearly 85 miles north-east of the capital, Bratislava.

Video showed the Slovak premier approach people gathered at barricades and reach out to shake hands as a man stepped forward, extended his arm and fired five rounds before being tackled and arrested.

Mr Fico immediately underwent a five-hour operation to treat multiple injuries he suffered in the shooting, followed by another two-hour procedure on Friday to remove dead tissue from his wounds.

The country’s Specialised Criminal Court in the town of Pezinok ordered the suspected assailant, who is charged with attempted murder, to remain behind bars. The suspect can appeal against the order.

Little information about the would-be assassin has been disclosed after prosecutors told police not to publicly identify him or release details about the case.

Hospital building
Mr Fico will remain at the clinic for the time being (AP)

Government officials originally said they believed it was a politically motivated attack committed by a “lone wolf”, but announced on Sunday that a “third party” might have been involved in “acting for the benefit of the perpetrator”.

Mr Fico’s government has made efforts to overhaul public broadcasting – a move critics said would give the government full control of public television and radio.

That, along with his plans to amend the penal code to eliminate a special anti-corruption prosecutor, have led opponents to worry that Mr Fico will lead Slovakia down a more autocratic path.

The government’s smallest coalition partner, the ultra-nationalist Slovak National Party, had been expecting a government meeting early this week to discuss the new media law, which the parliament started to debate last week.

By Press Association

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