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Slovak PM Robert Fico has another surgery, condition ‘still very serious’


Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico’s condition was on Friday “still very serious” two days after an attempted assassination, his deputy and close ally said, as police raided the suspect’s home.

Fico was hospitalised after the shooting on Wednesday, which happened as the 59-year-old leader was speaking to members of the public after a meeting in the central town of Handlova.

“He was operated on again, he had an almost two-hour-long operation,” deputy prime minister Robert Kalinak told reporters outside the hospital in Banska Bystrica.

Fico had previously undergone a five-hour-long surgery, shortly after being airlifted from the scene of the attack on Wednesday.

“His state is still very serious. I think it would take a couple of days to see the course of the development of his state,” Kalinak added on Friday.

The Banska Bystrica hospital director said Fico remained “conscious” despite being in a “serious” condition.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico attends the European Union summit in Brussels, Belgium on March 22. Photo: Xinhua/File

Earlier on Friday, local media reported that Slovak police had searched the home of the man charged with the shooting.

Officers brought along the alleged gunman, who was wearing a bulletproof vest and helmet, to the flat he shared with his wife in the western town of Levice, Markiza TV footage showed.

“Police stayed in the flat for several hours … They took the computer and documents out of the flat,” the private broadcaster said.

Police have not named the suspect, but media have identified him as 71-year-old writer Juraj Cintula.

He was charged on Thursday with attempted murder with premeditation in what the authorities have called a politically motivated attack, and scheduled to appear in court on Saturday.

“This is a lone wolf whose actions were accelerated after the presidential election since he was dissatisfied with its outcome,” Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok said.

The attack has stoked fears of further violence and instability in the politically polarised nation, just weeks before European Parliament elections.

A person is detained after a shooting incident of Slovak PM Robert Fico, after a Slovak government meeting in Handlova, Slovakia on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters

Officials drew a link to the political situation in the country, with its political scene marred by disinformation and attacks on social media during recent election campaigns.

Slovak president-elect Peter Pellegrini, who won an election in April, on Wednesday urged the political parties to suspend or reduce campaigning before the EU vote.

The biggest opposition party, centrist Progressive Slovakia, and others announced that they had done so.

Fico, a four-time premier and political veteran, returned to office in October.

Since then, he has made a string of remarks that have soured ties between Slovakia and neighbouring Ukraine after he questioned the country’s sovereignty.

After he was elected, Slovakia stopped sending weapons to Ukraine, invaded by Russia in 2022.



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