“Positive prognosis”: the latest on the health of Slovakia’s prime minister

“Positive prognosis”: the latest on the health of Slovakia’s prime minister
“Positive prognosis”: the latest on the health of Slovakia’s prime minister

The FD Roosevelt University Hospital, where Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is being treated after being shot two days earlier, in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, on May 17, 2024.

Photo: EFE – MARTIN DIVISEK

The prognosis regarding the state of health of the Slovak Prime Minister, Robert Fico, after the assassination attempt is “positive,” the Slovak Minister of Health announced this Saturday, while a court decided to keep the suspect in the attack in preventive detention.

The 59-year-old prime minister underwent a five-hour operation on Wednesday and a two-hour operation on Friday at the hospital in the city of Banska Bystrica, in the center of the country.

“Yesterday’s surgery, which lasted two hours, contributed to a positive prognosis for the prime minister’s health condition,” Health Minister Zuzana Dolinkova told reporters.

“The prime minister’s health condition is stable, but remains serious,” he added.

The man, identified by Slovak media as 71-year-old poet Juraj Cintula, shot Fico as he greeted supporters after a meeting of his cabinet in Handlova, central Slovakia.

The criminal court in Pezinok, northeast of Bratislava, decided this Saturday to keep the suspect in preventive detention.

The arrest was ordered due to “fear of a possible escape or continued criminal activity,” court spokesperson Katarina Kudjakova told AFP.

The ruling responds to Friday’s request by the prosecutor who charged the man with attempted premeditated murder.

“We are not there yet”

“If the shot had gone a few centimeters higher, it would have hit the prime minister’s liver,” Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok told the TA3 information channel on Saturday.

For his part, the Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister, Robert Kalinak, Fico’s closest political ally, declared that the leader is aware.

“I don’t think he can be transferred to Bratislava in the next few days, as his condition is still serious,” he told reporters. A little later, Kalinak told TA3 that Fico suffered four gunshot wounds, two minor, one moderate and one serious.

Doctors removed all potentially infectious material from his wounds during the operation on Friday, he added. “It will take four or five days for the body to begin to overcome such injuries, but we are not there yet,” declared Kalinak, who praised the good physical shape of the prime minister, runner and bodybuilder.

Fico, who headed the government between 2006-2010 and 2012-2018, has returned to the post of prime minister since his centrist populist party, Smer-SD, won the general election last year.

“All those lies”

Fico achieved this new mandate after campaigning on peace proposals between Russia and Ukraine, Slovakia’s neighbor, and after promising to stop sending military aid to kyiv, which he did after being elected.

The assassination attempt caused great shock in the country of 5.4 million inhabitants, a member of the EU and NATO, which has been experiencing a strong political division for years.

The outgoing pro-Western president, Zuzana Caputova, and her successor, Peter Pellegrini, a Fico ally who will take office in June, urged their fellow citizens to refrain from any “confrontation” after the attack.

Both called a meeting of all the leaders of the parliamentary parties for Tuesday to show unity after the events. However, the deputy prime minister hinted on Saturday that the Smer-SD will not participate in the meeting. “They invited the leaders of the political parties and our president [del partido] It is in the hands of the doctors,” he declared.

Kalinak indicated that he would call Caputova to discuss this matter, noting that Slovakia needs “reconciliation and peace.” Some political representatives have already accused their opponents of being behind the attack.

Kalinak criticized opposition politicians and some media on Friday for calling Fico a criminal, a dictator or a servant of Russian President Vladimir Putin before the shooting.

“All those lies are the main reason why Robert Fico is fighting for his life today,” he declared in a message posted on his party’s website.

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