Slovak PM is in serious but stable condition

Banska Bystrica: Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was in serious but stable condition Thursday, a hospital official said, after the populist leader was shot multiple times in an assassination attempt that shook the small country and reverberated across the continent weeks before European elections.

A suspect was in custody, and Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok said Wednesday that an initial investigation found “a clear political motivation” behind the attack on Fico while he was attending a government meeting in a former coal mining town.

Fico has long been a divisive figure in Slovakia and beyond, and his return to power last year on a pro-Russian, anti-American message led to even greater worries among fellow European Union members that he would abandon his country’s pro-Western course.

The attempt on Fico’s life Wednesday came at a time of high polarization in Slovakia as thousands of demonstrators have repeatedly rallied in the capital and around the country to protest his policies. It also comes just ahead of June elections for the European Parliament.

Fico’s govt has already halted arms deliveries to Ukraine, and has plans to amend tpenal code to eliminate a special anti-graft prosecutor and to take control of public media.

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