Shot Slovakian PM Fico still in serious condition

Bernadett Szabo and Jan Lopatka |

Police have conducted a search of a suspect’s home over the shooting of Prime Minister Robert Fico.
Police have conducted a search of a suspect’s home over the shooting of Prime Minister Robert Fico.

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico remains in serious condition and still faces risks of complications but has stabilised, officials say, following an assassination attempt.

The prime minister, 59, was shot five times at point-blank range on Wednesday in an attack that sent shockwaves throughout Europe and raised concerns over the polarised state of politics in the nation of 5.4 million people.

Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok has said the suspected shooter, who was detained on the spot and has been charged with attempted murder, acted alone. 

A Slovak court ruled on Saturday the man charged would be held in custody, a court spokeswoman said.

The suspect had previously taken part in anti-government protests, Estok said on Thursday.

Policemen in SLovakia
Officials in Slovakia say Prime Minister Robert Fico remains in a serious condition. (AP PHOTO)

“We have not won yet, that is important to say,” Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kaliniak, said on Saturday, giving an update on Fico’s condition in front of the hospital in the town of Banka Bystrica where he is being treated.

Kalinak said there was no need to formally take over Fico’s official duties while some communication with the premier was taking place.

Fico underwent a two-hour operation on Friday that increased prospects for his recovery.

“We are succeeding in gradually nearing a positive prognosis,” Kalinak said.

“In the initial hours, the prognosis was very, very bad, you know that shots into the abdomen are basically fatal, in this case (the doctors) managed to overturn this state and further stabilise the condition.”

Fico still faced a “big risk” of complications, Kalinak said. 

“The body’s reaction to a shooting wound is always very serious and brings (the risk of) a number of complications, which lasts for four to five days, which is today and tomorrow.”

He said it was unlikely Fico could be transferred to the capital, Bratislava, in the coming days.

Police have charged a man identified by prosecutors as Juraj C with attempted murder.

Local news media say he is a 71-year-old former security guard at a shopping mall and the author of three collections of poetry.

Since returning for a fourth time as prime minister in October, Fico has shifted policy quickly in what opposition critics called a power grab. 

His government has scaled back support for Ukraine in its war with Russia and is revamping the public broadcaster amid concern from critics about media freedom. 

Reuters