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Slovak PM Recovery No Longer in Life-Threatening Condition

Photo : Reuters

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico narrowly escaped a potentially fatal assassination attempt when leaving a government meeting on Wednesday. The assailant, identified as a 71-year-old man, fired five shots at Fico, leaving him critically wounded. Fico underwent emergency surgery, during which one bullet pierced his stomach, and another hit a joint. Deputy Prime Minister Tomas Taraba provided cautious optimism, stating that Fico's condition was no longer life-threatening.

The shooting, described as politically motivated, occurred in Handlova, Slovakia, a country with little history of political violence. The attack shocked the nation and drew condemnation from international leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden. 

The incident comes amidst a backdrop of heightened political tension in Slovakia, marked by polarized debate and Fico's controversial policies since his return as prime minister in October. Fico's government has faced criticism for its shifts in policy, including closer ties with Russia and weakening punishments for corruption. 

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Fico's tenure has been marked by strained relations with the media and opposition, with his party often blasting media and opposition actions. The attack prompted calls for restraint and unity, with Slovakia's biggest opposition party Progressive Slovakia canceling a planned protest. Parliament suspended debate indefinitely following the assassination attempt.

Fico, a dominant figure in Slovak politics for two decades, has faced challenges and controversies throughout his career, including mass protests in 2018 following the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak, who was investigating high-level corruption. Despite these challenges, Fico's resilience and political maneuvers have kept him in power, albeit amidst ongoing scrutiny and criticism.

As Fico recuperates from the assassination attempt, Slovakia braces for potential political repercussions and continues to grapple with divisions exacerbated by recent events. The investigation into the attack is ongoing, with authorities working to uncover the motives behind the assailant's actions.

May 16, 2024 10:28 a.m. 406

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