Slovakia’s Prime Minister Targeted in Alleged Assassination Attempt

Slovakia's Prime Minister Targeted in Alleged Assassination Attempt

( – Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico has been shot. The incident happened on May 15 in Handlova, a small town around 150 kilometers from the capital, Bratislava. Fico was meeting supporters on town streets when a 71-year-old suspect allegedly opened fire, shooting the Prime Minister multiple times. Fico was airlifted to the hospital in a life-threatening condition and has undergone more than one surgery.

A statement on his official Facebook page later described the incident as “an assassination attempt,” and Labor Minister Erik Tomáš confirmed that nobody else was injured in the attack. The suspect has so far been identified only as Juraj C.

Fico has led Slovakia on and off since 2006, when he won his first term in power. His political career started in the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in 1986, and his first election to the Slovakian Parliament occurred in 1992. By 2006, he had risen to the country’s top political spot. Fico’s first term ran from 2006 to 2010, his second from 2012 to 2018, and he rose from the political wilderness again in 2023. Last year, he campaigned on a pro-Russia and anti-America platform and is seen as a divisive political figure.

World leaders immediately condemned the attack. President Joe Biden said he and the First Lady prayed for Fico’s recovery. In a White House statement, the President said the US Embassy in Bratislava was on hand to assist.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said the shooting was a “monstrous crime,” adding that he knows Mr. Fico, who is courageous and “strong-minded.” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described his shock and said his thoughts are with the Prime Minister and his family.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban all issued statements condemning political violence and wishing Mr. Fico a speedy recovery.

Notably, Iran’s Foreign Ministry and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also issued remarks. Zelenskyy said violence must not become “the norm” in European politics.

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