The condition of Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was critically injured in an assassination attempt, has stabilized. Health Minister Zuzana Dolinkova announced this on Saturday in the clinic in the regional capital Banska Bystrica. A second operation on Friday gave cause for optimism, said the Social Democratic minister.

Defense Minister Robert Kalinak added that it would not be possible to transfer the patient to the capital Bratislava in the coming days. Kalinak is also the first deputy prime minister and represents Fico during his absence.

Fico was shot and critically injured by a 71-year-old man in the small town of Handlova on Wednesday. The attacker was arrested immediately after the crime. On Saturday, a court is expected to decide on the public prosecutor’s request to take him into custody. The public prosecutor’s office informed the TASR.

The government office called on the media, politicians and the public to only disseminate officially confirmed information. The authority criticized that misleading false information and speculation were also spread in the media. As Kalinak announced, the medical college would not decide before Monday on a possible transfer of the patient from Banska Bystrica to the capital Bratislava. Defense Minister Kalinak is Fico’s first of four deputies in the government and replaces him in his absence.

Kalinak: Fico will “have to learn a lot again”

According to the latest information from Kalinak and Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok, the head of government was hit by four shots and was operated on for five hours in the Banska Bystrica clinic on Wednesday. The severity of the injuries could make recovery difficult; Fico will “have to learn a lot again,” Kalinak said. Even if Fico is accessible in the hospital, there is still no final certainty “that we have won”.

Slovakian President Zuzana Caputova wants to reduce political tensions after the assassination attempt on Fico and invited the parties to a meeting on Tuesday. This was announced by her spokesman. The head of state Caputova, who will be in office until June 15th, and her elected successor Peter Pellegrini want to appear together at the meeting. Further details would be announced later. Immediately after the attack, Caputova not only condemned the act, but also called on all parties to control their emotions. A single perpetrator fired the shots, “but the tense atmosphere of hatred was our joint work,” she explained.

In the days following the attack, various security experts criticized Fico’s personal protection in the Slovak media. There were also calls for Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok to resign. He not only refused to resign, but also questioned the media criticism as improper and unfounded.