BREAKING: Slovakian PM Shot In Assassination Attempt, Reportedly Recovering

Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot and wounded outside the House of Culture in the town of Handlová, approximately 150 kilometers northeast of the capital, Bratislava. The 59-year-old leader, known for his pro-Russia stance and campaign promises to cease aid to Ukraine, was meeting with supporters when the shooting occurred.

Initial reports indicated that Fico was hit in the stomach and sustained injuries to his abdomen, arms, and legs. He was quickly evacuated by helicopter to a hospital in Banská Bystrica. Sources have since confirmed that Fico’s condition is not life-threatening, and he is out of immediate danger.

The shooter has been apprehended, according to police reports. The area around the House of Culture was swiftly sealed off by authorities as investigations commenced.

The incident was confirmed by Deputy Speaker of Parliament Luboš Blaha during a parliamentary session, which was subsequently adjourned until further notice. The attack comes just three weeks before crucial European Parliament elections, where populist and hard-right parties across the European Union are expected to make significant gains.

In the wake of the shooting, Slovakia’s major opposition parties, Progressive Slovakia and Freedom and Solidarity, have canceled a planned protest against a controversial government proposal to overhaul public broadcasting. The opposition argues that the plan would grant the government full control over public radio and television.

Political leaders both within Slovakia and across Europe have condemned the attack on Fico. Progressive Slovakia leader Michal Simecka expressed strong condemnation of the violence, urging politicians to avoid actions that could further escalate tensions. President Zuzana Čaputová called the attack “brutal and ruthless,” wishing Fico strength and a quick recovery.

European leaders echoed these sentiments. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen described the attack as “vile,” emphasizing that such violence undermines democracy. Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala called the incident “shocking” and stressed that violence has no place in society. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk also expressed his shock and support for Fico during this difficult time.

Fico, serving his third term as prime minister, led his leftist Smer party to a political comeback in the September 30 parliamentary elections with a pro-Russian and anti-American campaign. Critics fear that under Fico, Slovakia might shift away from its pro-Western stance and align more closely with Hungary’s populist Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Thousands of Slovakians have repeatedly protested against Fico’s policies, indicating a divided nation as it approaches the European Parliament elections.

Fico previously served as prime minister from 2006 to 2010 and from 2012 to 2018. He founded the Direction – Social Democracy party in 1999 and has been its leader since then. He is Slovakia’s longest-serving prime minister, with over 10 years in office.

First elected to parliament in 1992, Fico was appointed to the Council of Europe before forming his first government in 2006 after a parliamentary election victory. After losing the 2010 election, he led the opposition but returned as prime minister in 2012 with an absolute majority. He resigned in 2018 amid a political crisis following the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak.

In the 2023 parliamentary election, Fico campaigned on stopping military support to Ukraine and won the most votes, forming a coalition government. Fico has been critical of European sanctions on Russia and the EU’s immigration policies, although he condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He has also criticized the EU’s stance on Israel and opposed the Slovak–American Defence Cooperation Agreement.

Slovakia is a member of the European Union, the Eurozone, the United Nations, NATO, and the Council of Europe.

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