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Assassination attempt on Slovak PM Fico was planned in advance — defense minister

It is reported that doctors are doing everything possible to stabilize the patient

BRATISLAVA, May 16. /TASS/. An assassination attempt on Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has been planned in advance, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Robert Kalinak said on Thursday.

He added that it was not an accident as the shooter was seen to be present earlier at protests in Dolna Krupa, where the Cabinet of Ministers gathered for an away session last month and that session had been announced by the media.

"The condition of Robert Fico remains serious, doctors are doing everything possible to stabilize the patient," Kalinak said after an emergency meeting of the Security Council and the government.

"We cannot yet say that the situation is developing positively and that his life is no longer in danger. The injuries are very serious," he added.

Fico, 59, was shot multiple times by an armed assailant on May 15 after a government meeting in the city of Handlova in the western part of Slovakia. The Slovak premier was hospitalized in a serious condition, with wounds in a limb, the chest and abdomen. The shooter was detained at the scene of the attack and was later identified later as Juraj Cintula.

Juraj Cintula, a 71-year-old resident of the Slovak town of Levice, was charged with attempted murder and may face 25 years to life imprisonment, the TA3 TV channel reported on Thursday.

According to the Slovak authorities, the attack was politically motivated.

The shooting was the first attack on a politician in Slovakia’s history and Europe’s first assassination attempt in the past 38 years after Olof Palme, the then Prime Minister of Sweden, was shot dead in downtown Stockholm on February 28, 1986.