Slovakia to boost protections for politicians after assassination attempt on populist premier Fico

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Slovakia’s Parliament approved a package of legislation Thursday meant to boost security for leading politicians and others following an assassination attempt on populist Prime Minister Robert Fico.

The measures, which were approved by the coalition government on June 12, are set to take effect July 15 after expected approval by President Peter Pellegrini, Fico’s close ally.

The package was criticized by the opposition and rights group Amnesty International among others as an attempt to limit people’s right to gather.

Under the legislation, authorities will have the right to ban protest rallies in front of politicians’ homes and residential areas. Demonstrations also wouldn’t be allowed near the seats of government and president.

The Interior Ministry would identify and prepare long-term residences for the prime minister, president and parliamentary speaker who will be obliged to use them.

Protection also would be provided for the leaders of all political parties represented in Parliament, the prosecutor general and the chief judge at the Constitutional Court.

Prime ministers and parliamentary speakers who served at least two terms would receive a regular payment after their terms expire. The benefit is currently provided only for former presidents.

Fico, who took office last year after campaigning on a pro-Russian and anti-U.S. platform, has been recovering after being shot in the abdomen as he greeted supporters on May 15 in the town of Handlova. The assailant was arrested.

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