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The attack on Slovakia’s prime minister: 71-year-old suspect arrested

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Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico arrives at a government meeting in Handlova earlier on Wednesday. Photo: Radovan Stoklasa / TASR via AP / NTB

Of NTB | 15.05.2024 18:19:29

Policy: According to Slovakia’s Ministry of the Interior, it is an attempted murder. The police are said to have arrested a man, who, according to eyewitnesses, was pushed into a car by the police and driven away.

The Slovak newspaper Actuality writes that a 71-year-old man has been arrested and suspected of being behind the assassination. He is said to have been arrested by the police on the spot.

The suspect is said to be a left-wing poet. The newspaper also writes that he probably had a weapon that was legally registered.

The shots fell outside a cultural center in Handlova, approximately 15 miles northeast of the capital Bratislava. Here, Fico had attended a government meeting, Slovak media write. He was hit in the stomach, and a total of four shots are said to have been fired.

According to a spokeswoman for the hospital where Fico is now admitted, he first received treatment at the hospital in Handlova before being transferred to a larger hospital. He was conscious when he arrived and was then treated for gunshot wounds, according to the spokeswoman, who says he is now stabilized.

– Completely shocked by today’s brutal and reckless attack on Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico, which I condemn in the strongest terms, writes Slovak President Zuzana Caputova on X/Twitter.

The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, calls the attack shameful.

– Such acts of violence have no place in our society and undermine democracy, our most precious common good, she writes on X.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala were also quick to express shock and condemnation. They also send thoughts to the injured prime minister and wish him a speedy recovery.

The country’s largest opposition parties announced on Wednesday that they are canceling planned demonstrations, while at the same time condemning the attack in the strongest possible terms.

The shooting incident takes place a few weeks before the elections for the new EU Parliament.

Shocked reactions to the incident are pouring in from all over Europe.

Fico is considered a populist leader. He is skeptical about arms aid to Ukraine and still wants some cooperation with Russia. Recently, thousands of people have demonstrated against Fico’s policies. They are strongly critical of a media reform which they believe will give the government full control over the country’s national broadcasting.

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