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Slovakian Prime Minister's Facebook Indicates Life-Threatening Condition After Shooting
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By Associated Press
Published 2 weeks ago on
May 15, 2024

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Fico was shot and is in critical condition, leading to concerns about political stability and democracy in the region, especially with the upcoming European Parliament elections. Political leaders across Europe have strongly condemned the violence. (AP/Radovan Stoklasa)

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PRAGUE — Slovakia’s populist Prime Minister Robert Fico is in life-threatening condition after being wounded in a shooting after a political event Wednesday afternoon, according to his Facebook profile.

Reports on TA3, a Slovakian TV station, said that Fico, 59, was hit in the stomach after four shots were fired outside the House of Culture in the town of Handlova, some 150 kilometers (93 miles) northeast of the capital, where the leader was meeting with supporters. A suspect has been detained, it said.

“We absolutely and strongly condemn violence and today’s shooting of Premier Robert Fico,” said Progressive Slovakia leader Michal Simecka. “At the same time we call on all politicians to refrain from any expressions and steps which could contribute to further increasing the tension.”

President 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.”

Fico, a third-time premier, and his leftist Smer, or Direction, party, won Slovakia’s Sept. 30 parliamentary elections, staging a political comeback after campaigning on a pro-Russian and anti-American message.

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.

Protests Against Fico’s Policies

Thousands have repeatedly rallied in the capital and across Slovakia to protest Fico’s policies.

Condemnations of political violence quickly came from leaders across Europe, although no motive for the attack was immediately apparent.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen condemned what she described as a “vile attack.”

“Such acts of violence have no place in our society and undermine democracy, our most precious common good,” von der Leyen 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.

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.”

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