Fatal: Slovak Prime Minister Figo shoots himself

Figo was shot after a cabinet meeting in the town of Handlova. He was first taken to a hospital in Handlova, Slovakian news agency TASR reported, quoting Fico’s Smar party vice-president Lubos Plaha.

Witnesses told TV news channel TA3 that they heard at least four shots in front of the House of Culture in Handlova as Figo left to shake hands with people after a cabinet meeting. A shot in the chest. Then the Prime Minister fell to the ground. A video released by several media outlets shows the injured man being carried by the men into a car to bring him temporarily to safety.

“The next few hours will be crucial”

According to Reuters, a hospital spokesman said Figo was taken to a hospital in Handlova, conscious, where his gunshot wounds were treated and his vitals stabilized. He was taken to another hospital, it said.

A post on Figo’s official Facebook page added that he was taken by helicopter to a hospital in the town of Banska Bystrica, 30 kilometers away, because his health would take too long to fly him to Bratislava, 130 kilometers away. “The next few hours will be critical,” it continued. “Dennik N” newspaper reported that Figo will undergo surgery in the afternoon. According to media reports, cell phones of hospital staff were confiscated so they could not report on Figo’s condition.

The suspected shooter was arrested

According to Reuters, one person has reportedly been arrested. A 71-year-old man allegedly shot the politician, Slovak broadcaster JOJ reported. This information is yet to be officially confirmed. Slovak media reported that the shooter was a former shopping center guard, the author of three books of poetry and a member of the Slovak Writers’ Union. News site Aktuality.sk reported that the son claimed that his father legally had a gun license.

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Reuters/Radovan Stoklasa

One person has been arrested following the attack

“Just before I shook his hand, I heard four shots. “Robert fell to the ground,” an eyewitness in Handlova told RTVS. In shock. A woman told the station about the shooter: “The man was standing there from the beginning. (. ..) He waited.”

Demo against broadcasting reform cancelled

The National Council will tighten its security precautions not until next week, parliamentary deputy speaker Peter Zika said. After the attack became known, the main opposition party canceled a planned demonstration against the public broadcasting reform for Wednesday evening.

A few days ago, Fico accused the liberal opposition of creating a “climate of hostility” against the government. According to Figo, it cannot be ruled out that an act of violence will occur at some point in such a climate.

Television reference

Tonight at 8:15 ORF2 broadcasts a 15-minute ZIB special on the assassination attempt on Slovak Prime Minister Figo.

The President condemned the attack

Slovak President Zuzana Caputova condemned the “brutal and merciless” attack on Figo, according to Reuters. “I was shocked,” Caputova said. Slovak President-elect Peter Pellegrini condemned the attack as an “unprecedented threat to Slovak democracy”. “If we express different political opinions with pistols in the squares and not in the polling stations, we will put at risk everything we have built together during the 31 years of Slovak independence,” the Social Democratic politician said.

Crime scene investigators

Reuters/Radovan Stoklasa

Evidence was preserved at the crime scene

Home Minister Matus Sudaj Estok wrote on Facebook that all measures will be taken to ensure that the attack on the Prime Minister is resolved at the earliest. “Our common mission is to immediately stop the spread of political hatred. Emotions naturally run high, but it is very bad to allow this dangerous situation to escalate,” said Sudaj Estok.

International horror after assassination attempt

The attack was also condemned abroad. Chancellor Karl Nehhammer (ÖVP) wrote Robert, My thoughts are with you at this difficult time.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who is politically close to Figo, also expressed shock, with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen writing: “I strongly condemn the vile attack on Prime Minister Robert Figo. Such acts of violence have no place in our society and undermine our greatest common good, democracy.

Fico celebrated its comeback in the fall

The head of the Smer – Slovak Social Democracy (Smer – SSD) party and former long-term head of government celebrated his comeback in parliamentary elections in the fall. Since then, Fico’s government, a left-wing populist, has been rocked by controversial decisions. In mid-April, the public radio and television company RTVS was dissolved. Coalition parties accused the RTVS leadership of “not reporting objectively” and being close to the liberal opposition.

Photo Archive of Robert Figo

Reuters/Nadja Volleben

Fico celebrated its comeback in the fall

The three-party government on Wednesday accepted a controversial legislative proposal from nationalist Culture Minister Martyna Simkovikova. Accusations arose during the debate: Deputy Speaker of Parliament Andrzej Danko blamed the media for the assassination attempt on Figo and described the editors of the government-critical newspaper “Dennik N” as “pigs”.

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