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Slovakia PM Robert Fico not in life-threatening condition – deputy PM

  • By Malu Cursino and Sarah Rainsford, in Bratislava
  • BBC News

Video caption, Slovak PM fights for life after shooting

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is no longer in life-threatening condition after being shot several times, the deputy prime minister said.

Tomas Taraba told the BBC that Mr Fico’s operation had “gone well” and “I suppose in the end he will survive”.

Earlier, Mr Fico, 59, was said to have been “fighting for his life” after being seriously injured in the attack in the small town of Handlova.

A suspect was arrested at the scene of the shooting.

Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estoka described it as a politically motivated assassination attempt.

Mr Fico is a controversial figure at home – and controversial within the EU – because of his calls to end military aid to Ukraine and sanctions against Russia.

But condemnation of the shooting came from everywhere and it was described as an attack on democracy.

The shooter fired at point blank range

The shooter was part of a small crowd of Fico supporters gathered outside a cultural center in Handlova, where the prime minister was holding a meeting.

The shooting completely surprised Mr. Fico’s security guards. Footage shows the prime minister after being shot, being carried by several police officers, who take him into a car and drive him away from the scene.

Video caption, Moment before the shooting of the Slovak Prime Minister

The gunman fired five shots at close range and Mr. Fico was hit in the stomach and arm.

After the shooting, he was rushed to hospital and spent several hours in surgery “fighting for his life,” according to Defense Minister Robert Kalinak.

There has been no official update on the Prime Minister’s health since then, but his deputy has since told the BBC’s Newshour program that Mr Fico was “not in a life-threatening situation in danger at that time.

“As far as I know, the operation went well and I assume that in the end he will survive,” Mr Taraba said.

Mr Taraba added that the Prime Minister had been hit “very closely” and that “one bullet had passed through the stomach and the second had hit the joint”.

Police have not yet identified the alleged suspect. According to unconfirmed local media reports, he was a 71-year-old writer and political activist.

A video widely circulated in Slovak media purports to feature the suspect.

In the footage, the man says he disagrees with government policy and its stance towards state media. The BBC does not know whether the person in the video is the perpetrator who was arrested at the scene or under what circumstances the video was filmed.

The shooting occurred on the day parliament began discussing the government’s proposal to abolish Slovak public broadcaster RTVS.

Thousands of Slovaks have protested in recent weeks against the public broadcaster’s proposed reform. However, a planned protest by the opposition was canceled on Wednesday following news of the shooting.

Image source, Getty Images

Legend, The Slovak prime minister was flown to a hospital in Banska Bystrica and underwent several hours of surgery.

In his interview with the BBC, Deputy Prime Minister Taraba blamed the shooting on “false narratives” from opposition parties in Slovakia.

“Our prime minister has mentioned several times in the past that he is afraid this will happen,” Mr Taraba said in another interview with the BBC’s World Tonight programme.

He said Mr. Fico had warned that the way “the government has been attacked by false narratives can overheat people’s reaction and lead to something like this.”

Parliament was in session at the time of the attack and Slovak media reported that a colleague from Mr Fico’s party shouted at opposition MPs, accusing them of instigating the attack.

And Interior Minister Mr Estok accused the media of contributing to the climate that led to the 59-year-old’s shooting, telling a news conference: “Many of you were those who sowed this hatred.”

Mr. Estok added that he believed “this assassination attempt was politically motivated.”

Reacting to news of the attack, outgoing Slovak President Zuzana Caputova said something “so bad had happened that we can’t even realize it yet.”

“The hate speech we witness in society leads to hateful acts,” she added.

Mr. Fico returned to power in Slovakia after elections last September, leading a populist-nationalist coalition.

His first months as prime minister proved highly controversial, both in Slovakia and the EU. In January, he ended military aid to Ukraine and last month pushed through a plan to abolish the RTVS.

News Source :
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With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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