Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico remains in a "very serious" condition after being shot multiple times on Wednesday.

The Smer leader, who is in his third premiership, was attacked with a firearm as he left a government meeting in Handlová.

At least four shots were fired outside a cultural centre, with a suspect arrested at the scene.

Mr Fico was taken to hospital in Banská Bystrica for surgery, with the government stating there was no time for him to be removed to the capital, Bratislava.

According to TV Joj, the alleged gunman is a 71-year-old man from Levice in southern Slovakia.

The Herald: Rescue workers take Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was shot and injured, to a hospital in

In a news conference, deputy Prime Minister Robert Kaliňák said that Mr Fico had been in surgery for three and a half hours and remains in critical condition.

He said: "We experienced a tragic day, which for us means a fight for the life of the Prime Minister. It is difficult to find the words at this moment.

"He has suffered multiple serious traumas and his condition is very serious. We don't have any good news yet, we put our trust in the hands of the medical staff.

"Slovakia has always been a country of tolerant people who accepted other opinions and knew how to discuss them. What we experienced today is an insurmountable scar.

"But at the moment all of us think about the condition of our Prime Minister Robert Fico."