Slovakia PM has second surgery after assassination attempt

World

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico has had a second surgery in two days after being shot multiple times in Europe’s first assassination attempt in more than 20 years.

The 59-year-old was shot multiple times while greeting supporters in the former mining town of Handlova on Wednesday. A man has been arrested over the shooting.

Mr Fico was left with life-threatening injuries, and while his condition improved the president-elect of Slovakia said he escaped death “by just a hair”.

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Who is Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico?

He is currently recovering at the University FD Roosevelt Hospital in Banska Bystrica, and underwent a second surgery to remove dead tissue inside of his body.

Hospital director Miriam Lapunikova said he underwent a CT scan and is currently awake and stable in an intensive care unit, but added his condition is still “very serious”.

Image:
Miriam Lapunikova said Robert Fico underwent a second surgery to remove dead tissue on Friday. Pic: AP

Deputy prime minister Robert Kaliniak also told reporters: “I think it will take several more days until we will definitely know the direction of the further development.”

While Mr Fico continued to recover from the attack – the first assassination attempt of a European political leader for more than 20 years – police brought the suspect to his home while they searched it.

Markiza, a Slovakian television station, showed footage of the suspect accompanied by police in the town of Levice and reported police had seized a computer and some documents.

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Slovak PM shooting suspect’s home raided

He was then escorted out and back into the police car.

The suspect was previously named as 71-year-old Juraj Cintula. He is said to be a writer and poet.

President-elect Peter Pellegrini said on Thursday that the prime minister is living “the worst hours and days of his life” after the shooting.

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If the “gunshot wounds were just a few millimetres either side, we would be talking about him as the late prime minister”, he said.

Mr Fico has long been a divisive figure. His return to power last year on a pro-Russian, anti-American ticket led to worries among fellow EU and NATO members that he would turn his country further away from the Western mainstream.

Under his stewardship, the government has halted arms deliveries to Ukraine, and his opponents worry he will lead Slovakia in the footsteps of Viktor Orban’s Hungary.

Thousands have repeatedly rallied in the capital and across Slovakia to protest against Mr Fico’s policies.

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