Update: Slovakia Prime Minister

Update: Slovakia Prime Minister's condition has stabilized but remains serious following assassination attempt

Update: Slovakia Prime Minister

Slovakia’s prime minister, Robert Fico, is in a stable but serious condition after being shot five times and undergoing surgery, his deputy said Thursday, May 16 following an assassination attempt that has sparked global condemnation.

The 59-year-old populist leader, who returned to power in 2023 and whose controversial reforms have sparked protests in recent weeks, was attacked on Wednesday after a government meeting in the town of Handlova.

 

The prime minister had approached a small crowd of people waiting to meet him, when the suspected gunman in the crowd lunged forward and shot him five times. Footage from the scene showed the injured prime minister being bundled into a vehicle by his staff, before it sped away with him inside.

Fico underwent an hours-long surgery in a hospital in the city Banská Bystrica, with the defense minister saying at one point that the leader was “fighting for his life,” and the interior minister saying he was in “critical condition.”

Update: Slovakia Prime Minister

On Thursday morning, the country’s Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kaliňák said Fico’s condition “has been stabilized overnight, more steps are being taken to better his health. The situation is really serious.”

His comments come after deputy Prime Minister Tomáš Taraba said Wednesday night that the operation went well, that Fico was “not in a life-threatening situation at this moment,” and that he believed he would survive.

Taraba added that Fico had been heavily injured, with one bullet hitting his stomach and another bullet hitting his joints.

The suspected gunman was detained by police, and the country’s president Zuzana Čaputová said authorities would release more information when they can.

Fico is the most powerful politician in Slovakia. Unlike the president, whose role has limited scope, the prime minister holds rank as the decision-making head of government.

As prime minister, Fico made a major U-turn in Slovakia’s foreign policy and its previously staunch support for Ukraine, pledging to end the country’s military support for Kyiv and promising to block Ukraine’s NATO ambitions.

He also attempted to overhaul the criminal justice system, with his government trying to reduce punishments for corruption, and dismantling the special prosecutor’s office that investigated serious corruption cases.

He was also trying to shut down the public service broadcaster and replace it with a new national broadcaster that would be under tighter state control.
 

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