Slovak PM Moved Out of Hospital, Weeks After Deadly Shooting

After being severely injured by a gunshot two weeks ago, Prime Minister Robert Fico of Slovakia has been transferred from a hospital in the country’s central region and upgraded to “home nursing care.” 

According to the Banska Bystrica hospital, he was airlifted home to the capital, Bratislava, where he will reportedly begin his lengthy recuperation.

Returning to office in September at the helm of a populist-nationalist coalition, the seasoned politician has served as prime minister for more than 10 of the past 18 years.

The assault has further exacerbated the schism that has developed in Slovakia over the past several months.

In the central town of Handlova on 15 May, the 59-year-old was welcomed by supporters following a government meeting when he was shot four times at close range, leaving him struggling for his life.

The PM underwent many surgeries.

Miriam Lapunikova, principal of Roosevelt Hospital, commended her medical staff for a job well done and praised Fico for his disciplined patient behavior.

He was reportedly whisked away to Bratislava in a chopper early Thursday night, according to Slovak TV. An augmented security detail was stationed near his apartment in the diplomatic area, not far from the city center.

The man who allegedly attacked him, Juraj Cintula, 71, has been charged with attempted murder and is currently being held in jail. If found guilty, he will spend the remainder of his life behind bars; he is presently undergoing mental therapy.

Fico—a powerful figure in Slovakia for twenty years—has been criticized for his more pro-Russian attitude in the conflict in Ukraine.

The largest opposition party in Slovakia, Progressive Slovakia, has appealed for calm and canceled a scheduled demonstration to prevent tensions from rising. 

Throughout his career, Fico has vacillated between conventional pro-European and nationalist stances hostile to U.S. and EU policy. In response to shifting public sentiment or political reality, he has also demonstrated a readiness to alter his strategy.

Despite Fico’s admiration for Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, he has become more skeptical of Western backing for Ukraine’s battle against Russia’s invasion.