The Slovak Prime Minister, Robert Fico, was subjected to another operation after receiving shot several times in an assassination attempt earlier this week and remains in serious condition, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Robert Kalinak said.

Fico, 59, was shot several times Wednesday while greeting supporters after a government meeting in the former coal mining town of Handlovain an attack that shocked the nation.

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The premier was shot in the abdomen and was hospitalized.

Miriam Lapunikova, director of the FD Roosevelt University Hospital in Banska Bystrica, where Fico was airlifted by helicopter after being shot, said Fico underwent a CT scan and is currently awake and stable in an intensive care unit. He described his condition as “very serious.”

Said surgery removed dead tissues that had remained inside Fico’s body.

“I think that several days will pass until we definitively know the direction of events,” he told reporters at the Robert Kaliniak hospital.

A man accused of trying to assassinate the prime minister was described by authorities as a “lone wolf” with no “political affiliation”, a 71-year-old former security guard, who this Friday was escorted by police to his home in a search for evidence.

After receiving about five shots, Fico underwent a long surgery where they managed to stabilize him, but his situation remained serious.

Who is Robert Fico?

Fico has long been ua divisive figure in Slovakia and beyond. His return to power last year on a pro-Russian, anti-American platform raised concerns among European Union and NATO members that would abandon the pro-western course of his countryparticularly in Ukraine.

At the beginning of the Russian invasion, Slovakia was one of Ukraine’s strongest supportersbut Fico stopped arms deliveries to Ukraine when he returned to power last year for the fourth time as prime minister.

Robert Fico.  Photo: APRobert Fico. Photo: AP

The Fico government has also made efforts to reform public broadcastinga move that critics say would give the government the full control of public television and radio. That, along with his plans to modify the penal code to eliminate a special anti-corruption prosecutorhas led his opponents to fear that Fico will lead Slovakia down a more autocratic path.

The suspect

Markiza, a Slovak television channel, showed footage of the suspect being taken to his home in the town of Levice on Friday morning and reported that police had confiscated a computer and some documents. Police had no comment.

Prosecutors have told police not to publicly identify the suspect or other details about the case.

The apartment where the suspect lives.  Photo: Alex HALADA / AFPThe apartment where the suspect lives. Photo: Alex HALADA / AFP

Unconfirmed media reports suggested that this was a 71 year old retiree known as an amateur poet and who may have previously worked as a security guard at a shopping center in the southwest of the country.

With information from AP

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