Slovakia PM Robert Fico injured in shooting: Report | Mint – Mint

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Slovakia’s populist Prime Minister Robert Fico was injured in a shooting incident and was taken to a hospital, media reports claimed. He “is in life-threatening condition after being shot multiple times,” his Facebook profile read.

Fico was reportedly hit in the stomach after four shots were fired outside the House of Culture in the town of Handlova, where the leader held a meeting. “A suspect has been detained,” the report adding, further informing that police sealed off the scene.

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Slovak PM Robert Fico shot after a Slovak government meeting in Handlova, Slovakia, May 15, 2024 (REUTERS)

An official message on the prime minister’s Facebook page read, “Today an attempt was made on R. Fico’s life. He was shot several times and is currently in a life-threatening condition. At the moment, he is being taken by helicopter to Banská Bystrica, as the road to Bratislava would take too long due to the need for urgent surgery. The next few hours will be crucial.”

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According to preliminary information from Slovak media, Fico was shot multiple times. “One to the abdomen, one to the head,” Eastern European media NEXTA said in the post.

In a widely circulated video, security officers could be seen moving Slovak PM Robert Fico in a car after he was injured in a shooting incident. The incident reportedly happened after a Slovak government meeting in Handlova, Slovakia on Wednesday, May 15.

The shooting in Slovakia came three weeks ahead of crucial European Parliament elections, in which populist and hard-right parties in the 27-nation bloc appear poised to make gains.

Deputy speaker of parliament Lubos Blaha confirmed the incident during a session of Parliament and adjourned it until further notice, the Slovak TASR news agency said.

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President of the Slovak Republic Zuzana Caputova condemned “a brutal and ruthless” attack on the premier. “I’m shocked,” Caputova said. “I wish Robert Fico a lot of strength in this critical moment and a quick recovery from this attack,” she added.

Other leader react

Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said he was “deeply shocked by the heinous attack against” his “friend, Prime Minister Robert Fico”. He prayed for his health and quick recovery. “God bless him and his country,” he said in a post on X.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala called the incident “shocking,” adding “I wish the premier to get well soon. We cannot tolerate violence, there’s no place for it in society.” The Czech Republic and Slovakia formed Czechoslovakia till 1992.

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Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk wrote on the social media network X: “Shocking news from Slovakia. Robert, my thoughts are with you in this very difficult moment.”

Who is Robert Fico?

Robert Fico is a third-time premier and his leftist Smer, or Direction, party, won Slovakia’s September 30 parliamentary elections. According to the Associate Press, Fico’s win staged his political comeback after campaigning on a pro-Russian and anti-American message.

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Critics worried Slovakia under Fico would abandon the country’s pro-Western course and follow the direction of Hungary under populist Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Thousands have repeatedly rallied in the capital and across Slovakia to protest Fico’s policies.

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Published: 15 May 2024, 07:04 PM IST

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