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Gunned down: Slovakia continues to fear for Prime Minister Fico after the assassination attempt

Gunned down: Slovakia continues to fear for Prime Minister Fico after the assassination attempt

Robert Fico’s condition remains serious. The question arises as to who will govern the country in the absence of the seriously injured Prime Minister. The suspected assassin is being investigated for attempted murder.

After the assassination attempt on Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico, the politician is not expected to recover quickly. The 59-year-old remains in the intensive care unit of the University Hospital in Banska Bystrica after a five-hour operation.

A medical council must decide on further action, such as a transfer to the capital Bratislava, said clinic director Miriam Lapunikova to the newspaper “Dennik N”. The committee is expected to meet on Monday.

Deputy Prime Minister: Injuries serious

Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kalinak described Fico’s health as still serious. The head of government was hit by four bullets and the injuries were very serious. “The doctors managed to stabilize the condition,” said Kalinak.

But Fico is not yet out of danger. Lapunikova warned that the effects of the gunshot wounds could make recovery difficult. An experienced surgeon who is not part of the treatment team told “Dennik N” that the next three to four days are likely to be crucial.

If the head of government were to resign for health reasons, this would automatically bring down the entire government in accordance with the Slovak constitution. The fathers of the Basic Law do not seem to have taken into account the fact that a Prime Minister cannot continue his official duties because of an assassination attempt.

Deputy continues government business for the time being

However, the change at the top of the government in 2018 could serve as a model. At that time, Fico resigned from his position under public pressure after the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak. The coalition parties agreed on Peter Pellegrini as their joint successor candidate, who was then appointed by the President. As long as Fico takes a break until he fully recovers, his deputies will continue to run the government – with Kalinak first in line.

Criminal investigations into attempted murder have been launched against the suspected attacker. It is a 71-year-old from the small town of Levice. Interior Minister Matus Sustaj Estok said the man was a “lone wolf” who was dissatisfied with political developments in Slovakia. However, he is not a member of a radicalized political group, neither right-wing nor left-wing.

Experts criticize security precautions

Attention is now also focused on possible failures in security measures in the small town of Handlova, where the shooting occurred after a cabinet meeting when Fico wanted to shake hands with supporters gathered at a fence. The authorities are examining whether his bodyguards did not adequately protect the head of government or whether incidents of this kind are simply difficult to prevent in an open society.

Several experts criticized the security precautions on site or even spoke of a “failure”. Some media also raised the question of how a video of the alleged attacker, apparently recorded at a police station – possibly even by an officer – could have been made public.

Meanwhile, outgoing President Zuzana Caputova and her elected successor Pellegrini invited the political parties to joint talks. “Let us get out of the vicious circle of hatred and mutual accusations,” appealed Caputova in Bratislava. Pellegrini called on the parties to temporarily suspend or at least limit their election campaign before the European elections on June 9th. In the neighboring country of the Czech Republic, the unions canceled a day of protest with demonstrations planned for May 21st out of consideration for the situation in Slovakia.

Source: Stern

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