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Attempted Killing of Slovakia’s Leader Shocks a Polarized Nation

Attempted Killing of Slovakia’s Leader Shocks a Polarized Nation


A day after Slovakia’s prime minister, Robert Fico, was critically wounded in what his authorities known as a politically motivated assassination try, consideration targeted on Thursday on the safety breaches that allowed the assault to happen.

Mr. Fico’s situation has stabilized after 5 hours of emergency surgical procedure, senior officers stated late Wednesday. News stories on Thursday cited hospital and authorities officers saying, nevertheless, that his state of affairs was nonetheless “very severe.”

The Reuters information company reported that the federal government would convene a gathering of safety officers on Thursday.

A former police chief, Stefan Hamran, stated in an interview with Dennik N, a information outlet, that Mr. Fico’s safety element had acted unprofessionally throughout and after the assault and blamed them for scenes of chaos. “There was chaos, that’s apparent, and it’s a failure,” he stated.

Political tempers within the deeply polarized Central European nation have been rising after Mr. Fico’s taking pictures, with the prime minister’s allies accusing their opponents of getting “blood on their palms” and of stoking the violent hatred that they blamed for the taking pictures.

The inside ministry in Bratislava, the Slovak capital, known as for calm. “Let’s cease spreading hate and requires violence,” the ministry stated in a single day on an internet site it operates devoted to preventing “hoaxes and frauds.”

Mr. Fico, a combative, shape-shifting veteran politician broadly loathed by Bratislava liberals however usually fashionable outdoors the capital, was shot 5 occasions, taking at the very least one bullet in his stomach, after conferences on Wednesday with native officers and supporters in Handlova, a city in central Slovakia that voted closely for his party in a September election for Parliament.

Amid mounting worry that Mr. Fico would possibly succumb to his wounds, Slovakia’s deputy prime minister, Tomas Taraba, advised the BBC late on Wednesday that “he’s not in a life-threatening state of affairs at this second.”

Filip Kuffa, a state secretary, stated early Thursday on Facebook that Mr. Fico was in secure situation. “Praise the Lord,” he stated.

But Markiza, a normally well-informed Slovak tv station, reported that the lifetime of the prime minister was nonetheless hanging the stability. It stated that cellphones had been taken from many employees members on the hospital to forestall them speaking details about Mr. Fico’s situation.

With social media in Slovakia frothing with unconfirmed stories in regards to the motives of the suspect — recognized by information media retailers as a 71-year-old newbie poet and erstwhile anti-violence campaigner — and his political leanings, politicians throughout the political spectrum voiced shock and outrage on the assault whereas pointing fingers at one another.

Lubos Blaha, the vice chairman of Mr. Fico’s governing Smer party, stated the opposition and what he known as “the liberal media” had “constructed a gallows” for the prime minister by “spreading a lot hatred.” Rudolf Huliak, an ally of the federal government from the far-right Slovak National Party, stated progressives and journalists “have Robert Fico’s blood on their palms.”

Slovakia’s political temperature has risen to fever pitch in latest months as Mr. Fico’s authorities, in energy since a good September election, has pushed for an overhaul of the nation’s state broadcasting system to purge what it sees as liberal bias and crack down on nongovernmental organizations it views as brokers of international meddling.

Critics accused Mr. Fico of destroying democracy and attempting to take Slovakia again to the repression of the nation’s communist half earlier than the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall. Their tone has usually been shrill, however no extra so than that of the federal government, which commonly denounces its opponents as enemies of the folks serving international pursuits. Mr. Fico not too long ago known as an opposition chief and legislator “worse than a rat.”

Speaking on Wednesday night outdoors the provincial hospital the place Mr. Fico was nonetheless present process surgical procedure, the inside minister, Matus Sutaj Estok, stated an preliminary investigation “clearly factors to a political motivation” behind the taking pictures.

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