Slovakia’s toxic politics and the trail to Robert Fico’s taking pictures | EUROtoday

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As Slovakian prime minister Robert Fico recovers from surgical procedure having been shot 5 instances at shut vary, critics of his ruling get together are nervous the assault might be used to widen the political faultlines in a rustic that has been on edge for months.

Mr Fico’s situation is secure however “serious” in response to hospital officers, whereas a suspect has been charged with tried homicide and will face life imprisonment. Miriam Lapunikova, director of the University FD Roosevelt hospital in Banska Bystrica, the place Mr Fico was taken by helicopter after he was shot, stated he underwent a CT scan and is presently awake and secure in an intensive care unit. She described his situation as “very serious”.

“I think it will take several more days until we will definitely know the direction of the further development,” stated defence minister and deputy prime minister Robert Kalinak, talking on the hospital.

Interior minister Matus Sutaj Estok, in an announcement, described the gunman as a “lone wolf” who’s “not a member of any right-wing or left-wing radicalised party”.

But in the identical breath he requested journalists to “reflect” on how they’d coated Mr Fico’s insurance policies, earlier than insisting that the assault was politically motivated.

Mr Fico’s pro-Russia views – he has criticised the earlier authorities’s army assist for Kyiv – have contributed to deep divisions within the small European nation that borders Ukraine. After his election victory final yr, the brand new authorities instantly halted arms deliveries to Ukraine. Thousands repeatedly took to the streets throughout Slovakia to rally in opposition to Mr Fico’s pro-Russian and different insurance policies, together with plans to amend the penal code to eradicate a particular anti-graft prosecutor and to take management of public media.

Mr Fico’s return to energy – he’s a three-time prime minister – has brought about concern amongst his critics that he and his get together will lead Slovakia away from its pro-Western course. He vowed to pursue a “sovereign” overseas coverage, promised a tricky stance in opposition to migration and non-governmental organisations, and campaigned in opposition to LGBT+ rights. Last month, the federal government authorised a proposal to abolish the general public broadcaster and substitute it with a brand new physique, sparking outrage amongst opposition events who say the federal government will then have management of public radio and tv.

A person waves the Slovakian flag exterior the hospital in Banska Bystrica the place Mr Fico is being handled (AFP by way of Getty Images)

Members of Mr Fico’s ruling SMER get together, in addition to extra excessive figures from the far-right Slovak National Party (SNS) – a part of the prime minister’s three-party coalition – have wasted no time in suggesting the assault was the results of political stress.

Lubos Blaha, the deputy speaker of parliament from the SMER get together, issued a direct tackle to opposition politicians and the media.

“This is your fault,” he stated. “I want to express my deep disgust at what you have been doing here for the last few years. You, the liberal media, the political opposition, what kind of hatred did you spread towards Robert Fico? You built gallows for him.”

Mr Blaha later claimed, with out offering proof, that the suspect accused of taking pictures the PM had been at occasions run by the opposition Progressive Slovakia (PS) get together. “We [ruling coalition MPs] are the biggest next targets,” he stated.

Lubos Blaha, the deputy speaker of parliament from the SMER get together, blamed the media and political opposition for the assault on Mr Fico (Alamy Stock Photo)

Another deputy speaker, Andrej Danko from SNS, blamed the tried assassination on impartial media. “Are you happy now?” he requested. “I still can’t believe that someone in society would be willing to cross that line.”

He then referred to some journalists as “disgusting pigs” and stated his get together noticed the assault as the beginning of a political battle. “I believe that with Robert Fico we’ll handle the situation, but there will be some changes here,” he added.

Media freedom has been the topic of intensive dialogue in Slovakia in latest weeks as Mr Fico’s authorities pushed the controversial proposal ahead to switch the general public broadcaster RTVS.

Journalists now worry the populist prime minister’s crackdown on impartial media retailers may worsen after this assault.

The nation’s media signed a standard on-line assertion condemning the assault on Mr Fico as “the path of hatred, which we cannot allow to take over Slovakia, because it will send us to the darkest place on the map”.

Slovakia’s president-elect Peter Pellegrini speaks to reporters on Thursday to try to calm tensions (AFP by way of Getty Images)

They added: “We appeal to politicians not to divide our society any further, and not to immediately start looking for guilty parties. Now is the time to come together.”

Slovakia’s outgoing liberal president, Zuzana Caputova, joined her successor and Mr Fico ally, Peter Pellegrini, to make a joint tackle on Thursday to try to calm tensions. This got here regardless of inside minister Mr Estok claiming that the “perpetrator’s decision [to try to assassinate Mr Fico] was born closely after the presidential election”.

“We are standing here together because we want to send a signal of reconciliation in this tense moment,” Ms Caputova stated. “We’re one country, one nation, and along with our national minorities we form a single human community.

“[This] attack … is first and foremost a great human tragedy, but also an attack on democracy.”