Bratislava, Slovakia – Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini is due to travel to Russia on Thursday, a few days after being taken ill and hospitalized and only four days before the February 29 parliamentary elections
Slovak Prime Minister taken ill one week before elections
Pellegrini, who became Prime Minister less than two years ago after mass protests forced then-PM and Smer chairman Robert Fico to step down, was hospitalized in Bratislava on Saturday evening shortly after attending an EU budget summit in Brussels.
He was reportedly suffering from a respiratory infection accompanied with high fever.
“Due to his health condition, he has temporarily cancelled his program”, his office announced in a statement following his hospitalization. Pellegrini was therefore not able to participate in the Sunday televised debate with leaders of the other major political parties running in the election.
The Prime Minister later posted a picture from the hospital on social media, claiming he had been having health problems for the past two weeks and reassuring that he was hoping to be back to work as soon as possible.
The following day, the head of Sme Rodina party Boris Kollar was also hospitalized, allegedly over exhaustion and benign health problems.
As the coronavirus continued to spread in Europe and amidst the recent outbreak in Italy, PM Pellegrini had to take to Twitter to deny claims he had been infected with the respiratory virus that originated from the Chinese city of Wuhan and has now claimed 2,600 lives worldwide, including 23 outside of China.
“I resolutely deny hoax tweets that I have got a coronavirus. A total nonsense”, he wrote on Twitter on Monday.
For now, Slovakia hasn’t reported any confirmed cases of coronavirus infection, with the latest suspected cases coming back with negative results.
Peter Pellegrini flies off to Moscow to meet with Russian counterpart
Despite not being able to attend the last campaign events planned in his schedule, the Slovak Premier is due to travel on official duty to Moscow today, according to the Slovak Spectator, in order to meet with Russian counterpart Mikhail Mishustin, appointed only one month ago.
Pellegrini is allegedly the first EU head of state or government to meet with Russia’s new Prime Minister, recently appointed following a sweeping institutional and constitutional overhaul unveiled by President Vladimir Putin last month and the subsequent resignation of former PM Dimitry Medvedev.
The Prime Minister will be accompanied by Economy Minister Peter Ziga during a trip that should focus on bilateral economic ties between Russia and Slovakia.
Main photo credit: AP/TASR