The Edition
facebook icon twitter icon instagram icon linkedin icon


Slovak PM 'stable' a week after assassination attempt

23 May 2024, MVT 12:18
(FILES) Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico arrives for a Central Europe's 'Visegrad Four' group meeting in Brussels on December 14, 2017. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was on May 15, 2024 shot and hospitalised after a cabinet meeting in the central town of Handlova, local media said. -- Photo: John Thys / AFP
23 May 2024, MVT 12:18

Slovak prime minister Robert Fico was in a "stable" but "serious" condition, his deputy said Wednesday, a week after he was shot four times in an assassination attempt that shook the deeply polarised country.

The Slovak premier was shot and critically injured as he greeted supporters in the central town of Handlova. Fico underwent two long operations in hospital in the central city of Banska Bystrica, where he remains.

"His condition was stable in the morning," deputy prime minister Robert Kalinak told reporters.

"His condition is serious, the injuries are complicated. Transportation is definitely out of the question at this time," said Kalinak, Fico's closest political ally in the eastern European country.

The Banska Bystrica hospital gave a similar assessment in its daily update on Fico.

"The patient's condition is serious but currently stable," the hospital authorities said on social media.

The accused gunman, identified by Slovak media as 71-year-old poet Juraj Cintula, has been charged with premeditated attempted murder and was remanded in custody at a hearing on Saturday.

On Sunday, the Slovak interior minister said police were looking into the possibility that Cintula may not have acted alone.

"One version is that the culprit was part of a group of people who encouraged each other to commit the crime," Matus Sutaj Estok said.

Citing intelligence reports, Sutaj Estok said someone had erased the gunman's Facebook history and communication while he was detained.

But the Slovak media regulatory agency said Facebook-owner Meta informed the authorities it had deleted the suspect's account.

"Meta informed us that in accordance with the crisis protocol they put in place following the attack, they deleted the attacker's Facebook account," the Council for Media Services said.

But Kalinak, who is also Slovakia's defence minister, said Wednesday a "distinction" has to be made between the Slovak investigation findings and Meta's report.

"We talked about the manipulation of the account shortly after the arrest, that's the time between the attack and the intervention of the Meta company," he said.

The attempted assassination has highlighted acute political divisions in Slovakia where 59-year-old Fico took office in October after his Smer party won a general election.

He is serving his fourth term as prime minister after since taking power has halted military aid to neighbouring Ukraine and called for peace between Russia and Ukraine.

© Agence France-Presse

Share this story