Slovak PM’s life no longer in danger after shooting

BRATISLAVA: Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico’s life is no longer in danger following an assassination attempt, Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kalinak said on Sunday (May 19). 

The suspected gunman appeared in court on Saturday after Fico was shot four times last Wednesday, leaving him fighting for his life at one stage.

“He has emerged from the immediate threat to his life, but his condition remains serious and he requires intensive care,” Kalinak, Fico’s closest political ally, told reporters.

The Slovak premier was shot as he was greeting supporters after a government meeting in the central town of Handlova. He underwent a five-hour operation on Wednesday and another on Friday at a hospital in the central city of Banska Bystrica.

“We can consider his condition stable with a positive prognosis,” Kalinak said outside the hospital, adding that “we all feel a bit more relaxed now”.

Kalinak added that Fico would stay at Banska Bystrica for the moment.

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

Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok said that if one of the shots, “went just a few centimetres higher, it would have hit the prime minister’s liver”.

Sutaj Estok added on Sunday that police were looking into the possibility that the gunman 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,” he said, adding the gunman may also have disclosed his intentions to someone.

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

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