BRATISLAVA, Dec 7 (Reuters) – Former Slovak prime minister Robert Fico left the annual congress of the main ruling Smer party, which he still leads, on Saturday to seek medical treatment, Slovak media reported.
“I have a huge problem with blood pressure, I am going to a hospital,” newspaper Dennik N quoted Fico as telling reporters before he left the Incheba venue in Bratislava.
A Smer spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
Fico, 55, who had heart surgery in April 2016, was charged on Thursday with racism over his support for a far-right former lawmaker who lost his seat in parliament over remarks he made about Slovakia’s Roma minority.
If found guilty, police said Fico could face a prison term of up to five years.
Fico was prime minister for 10 of the 12 years preceding his resignation in 2018 following mass demonstrations against corruption prompted by the shooting dead of an investigative journalist and his fiancee.
The trial for those murders of a high-profile Slovak businessman and three others is due to start on Dec. 19.
Slovaks will vote in a general election on Feb. 29. Polls show Smer is still the most popular party but its support is sliding as anti-system and far-right parties make gains. (Reporting by Tatiana Jancarikova and Robert Muller; Editing by Catherine Evans)