Sat. May 18th, 2024

Slovak PM no longer in ‘life-threatening situation’ after assassination attempt

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May8,2024
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is no longer in a life-threatening condition after he was shot in an assassination attempt when leaving a government meeting, a government minister has said.
The gunman shot Fico, 59, five times, initially leaving the prime minister in critical condition. He underwent surgery hours later on Wednesday evening local time.
“I was very shocked … fortunately as far as I know the operation went well — and I guess in the end he will survive … he’s not in a life-threatening situation at this moment,” Slovak deputy prime minister Tomáš Taraba told the BBC’s Newshour.

Taraba said one bullet went through Fico’s stomach and a second hit a joint.

After the attack, Fico was rushed to hospital in Handlová where he had been chairing a government meeting. He was then transported by helicopter to the regional capital Banská Bystrica for urgent treatment.

A witness told the Reuters news agency they heard shots as Fico exited a building to shake hands with a crowd of people who had been waiting to greet him. Police then wrestled a man to the ground.

US and Russia respond to attack

The shooting in the central Slovak town of Handlová, which Slovak media said was carried out by a 71-year-old man, stunned the small central European nation and drew international condemnation.

Slovakia, a member of NATO and the European Union, has little history of political violence. Russian President Vladimir Putin and United States President Joe Biden joined Slovakia’s EU partners in expressing shock and condemnation of the shooting.

US President Joe Biden speaking at a podium.

US President Joe Biden condemned the “horrific act of violence”. Source: AAP / Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Describing the shooting as a “monstrous” crime, Putin said in a telegram sent to Slovakia’s President Zuzana Čaputová: “I know Robert Fico as a courageous and strong-minded man. I very much hope that these qualities will help him to survive this difficult situation.”

Biden offered US help to Slovakia, saying in a statement: “We condemn this horrific act of violence.”

A polarised Slovakia

The country of 5.4 million has seen polarised political debate in recent years, including the hard-fought presidential election last month that helped tighten Fico’s grip on power.
Since returning as prime minister in October, Fico has shifted policy quickly. Opposition critics call it a power grab.
His government has scaled back support for Ukraine while opening dialogue with Russia, sought to weaken punishments for corruption and dismantled a special prosecutor’s office, and is revamping the RTVS public broadcaster despite calls to protect media freedom.

Slovak news media reported the shooter was a former security guard at a shopping mall, an author of three collections of poetry and a member of the Slovak Society of Writers.

A police officer stands in the foreground

The shooting has stunned the 5.4 million residents of Slovakia, which has little history of political violence. Source: AAP / Denes Erdos

News outlet Aktuality.sk cited his son as saying his father was the legal holder of a gun licence.

“I have absolutely no idea what my father intended, what he planned, what happened,” it quoted the son as saying. Broadcaster TA3 reported the leftist prime minister had been hit in the abdomen in the attack.

“I don’t think I will wake up from this,” 66-year-old Lubica Valkova told reporters on the scene. “This kind of thing just can’t happen in Slovakia.”

Protest called off

Slovakia’s biggest opposition party Progressive Slovakia called off a planned protest and called for restraint to avoid escalating tensions.
Parliament suspended debate indefinitely after the attack.
Fico was forced to resign as premier amid mass protests in 2018 triggered by the contract killing of Ján Kuciak, a journalist who had been investigating high-level corruption.

Those protests exacerbated divisions in Slovak society that still linger.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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One thought on “Slovak PM no longer in ‘life-threatening situation’ after assassination attempt”
  1. It’s truly alarming to hear about the assassination attempt on Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico. I’m relieved to know that he is no longer in a life-threatening condition and that the surgery went well. Wishing him a speedy recovery and hoping for justice to prevail in this shocking incident.

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