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Slovakia's PM Fico in life-threatening condition after assassination attempt

SLOVAKIA’S Prime Minister Robert Fico was reportedly in a life-threatening condition after being wounded in a shooting after a political event yesterday afternoon.

Reports on TA3, a Slovakian TV station, said that Fico was hit in the stomach after four shots were fired outside the House of Culture in the town of Handlova, some 93 miles north-east of the capital, where the leader was meeting with supporters. 

A suspect has been detained, it said.

A message posted to Mr Fico’s Facebook account said that the leader “has been shot multiple times and is currently in life-threatening condition. 

“At this moment he is transported by helicopter to Banska Bystrica, because it would take too long to get to Bratislava due to the necessity of an acute procedure. The next few hours will decide.”

The shooting in Slovakia comes three weeks ahead of crucial European Parliament elections, in which hard-right parties in the 27-nation bloc appear poised to make gains.

Deputy speaker of parliament Lubos Blaha confirmed the incident during a session of Slovakia’s parliament and adjourned it until further notice, the Slovak TASR news agency said.

Slovakia’s major opposition parties, Progressive Slovakia and Freedom and Solidarity, cancelled a planned protest against a controversial government plan to overhaul public broadcasting that they say would give the government full control of public radio and television.

“We absolutely and strongly condemn violence and today’s shooting of Premier Robert Fico,” said Progressive Slovakia leader Michal Simecka.

 “At the same time we call on all politicians to refrain from any expressions and steps which could contribute to further increasing the tension.”

President Zuzana Caputova condemned “a brutal and ruthless” attack on the premier.

“I’m shocked,” Ms Caputova said. “I wish Robert Fico a lot of strength in this critical moment and a quick recovery from this attack.”

Mr Fico is a third-time premier and his left-wing Direction party won Slovakia’s September 30 parliamentary elections.

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