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Prime minister Fico in stable condition; Slovakian politicians say threats rising

May 19, 2024

Bratislava [Slovakia], May 19: Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was critically injured in an assassination attempt on Wednesday, is in stable condition, Health Minister Zuzana Dolinkova said on Saturday.
After his second operation on Friday, there is cause for optimism, the minister said.
However, Fico cannot yet be transferred to the capital, Bratislava, in the coming days, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Robert Kalinak said. A panel of doctors is to decide on Monday whether he is to be transferred. The prime minister is currently recovering in the university hospital Banska Bystrica, close to the small town of Handlova where he was shot.
Kalinak said the various medical procedures Fico had undergone were "beginning to bear fruit" and that there was no need to formally take over his official duties.
He said "several miracles" had taken place at the hospital the prime minister was being treated at, thanks to the efforts of medical staff.
"I can't find words of gratitude for the fact that we are steadily approaching that positive prognosis," he added.He is understood to have undergone a number of surgeries, including the latest to remove dead tissue.
Also on Saturday, the gunman who attacked Fico was remanded in custody, following a decision by a special court responsible for organized and politically motivated crime in the western city of Pezinok, court spokeswoman Katarina Kudjakova told DPA.
She said this was due to the risk he might abscond and carry out further acts of violence.
The decision can be appealed. The man was detained directly after the shooting on Wednesday. Reports, citing the police, said he had already pleaded guilty during questioning.
The public prosecutor's office asked for him to be held in pre-trial detention and the court heard Juraj C, as he is known under privacy rules, on Saturday morning.
He had been expecting Fico after a government meeting in Handlova and shot at him at close range. Fico, 59, was hit by several gunshots and has since undergone two operations.
The suspect, 71, was charged on Thursday with attempted murder. He was described by authorities as a "lone wolf" motivated by political grievances.
The attack, in the deeply divided nation, sent shock waves around the world.
Since then, there has been an increase in threats against other politicians in the country, Interior Minister Matúš Šutaj Eštok told the daily newspaper Pravda on Saturday.
The attack has left Slovakia tense and deeply polarised. Kalinak has called for the country to embark on a path of tolerance and accused the opposition and the media of stirring up hatred.
A member of parliament from Smer, the largest governing party led by Fico, had also been threatened. A perpetrator has been identified in both cases.
Earlier death threats against the liberal opposition leader Michal Simecka and his family had already been made public. Apart from specific death threats, the number of aggressive comments on social media has also increased significantly, Slovakian media reported, citing experts.
Source: Qatar Tribune