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Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is not in danger, says Deputy Prime Minister

Video caption, Slovak PM fights for life after shooting

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is no longer in life-threatening condition after being shot several times, the deputy prime minister said.

Tomas Taraba told the BBC that Mr Fico’s operation had “gone well” and “I suppose in the end he will survive”.

Earlier, the defense minister said Mr Fico was “fighting for his life” after being seriously injured in an attack in the small town of Handlova.

A suspect was arrested at the scene of the shooting.

Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estoka described it as a politically motivated assassination attempt.

After the shooting, Mr. Fico was rushed to hospital and spent several hours in surgery “fighting for his life,” according to Defense Minister Robert Kalinak, who spoke Wednesday during a press conference outside the hospital where Mr. Fico was being treated.

There has been no official update on the Prime Minister’s health since then, but his deputy has since told the BBC’s Newshour program that Mr Fico was “not in a life-threatening situation in danger at that time.

“As far as I know, the operation went well and I assume that in the end he will survive,” Mr Taraba said.

Mr Taraba added that the Prime Minister had been hit “very closely” and that “one bullet had passed through the stomach and the second had hit the joint”.

Image source, Getty Images

Legend, The Slovak prime minister was flown to a hospital in Banska Bystrica and underwent several hours of surgery.

Police have not yet identified the alleged suspect. According to unconfirmed local media reports, he was a 71-year-old writer and political activist.

A video widely circulated in Slovak media purports to feature the suspect.

In the footage, the man says he disagrees with government policy and its stance towards state media. The BBC does not know whether the person in the video is the perpetrator who was arrested at the scene or under what circumstances the video was filmed.

The shooting occurred on the day parliament began discussing the government’s proposal to abolish Slovak public broadcaster RTVS.

Thousands of Slovaks have protested in recent weeks against the public broadcaster’s proposed reform. However, a planned protest by the opposition was canceled on Wednesday following news of the shooting.

In his interview with the BBC, Deputy Prime Minister Taraba blamed the shooting on “false narratives” from opposition parties in Slovakia.

“Our prime minister has mentioned several times in the past that he is afraid this will happen,” Mr Taraba said in another interview with the BBC’s World Tonight programme.

He said Mr. Fico had warned that the way “the government has been attacked by false narratives can overheat people’s reaction and lead to something like this.”

Parliament was in session at the time of the attack and Slovak media reported that a colleague from Mr Fico’s party shouted at opposition MPs, accusing them of instigating the attack.

And Interior Minister Mr Estok accused the media of contributing to the climate that led to the 59-year-old’s shooting, telling a news conference: “Many of you were those who sowed this hatred.”

Mr. Estok added that he believed “this assassination attempt was politically motivated.”

Reacting to news of the attack, outgoing Slovak President Zuzana Caputova said something “so bad had happened that we can’t even realize it yet.”

“The hate speech we witness in society leads to hateful acts,” she added.

Mr. Fico returned to power in Slovakia after elections last September, leading a populist-nationalist coalition. His first months as Prime Minister proved politically very controversial. In January, he ended military aid to Ukraine and last month pushed through a plan to abolish the RTVS.

News Source : www.bbc.com
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