Slovakia PM Robert Fico in Critical Condition After Assassination Attempt

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Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico is in a “life-threatening condition” after he was wounded in a shooting, according to a statement on his official social media page.

The prime minister was shot “multiple times” in an “assassination attempt”, the statement said on Wednesday.

Fico, 59, was hit in the abdomen after several shots were fired in the town of Handlova, local media reported. Police sealed off the scene and a suspect has been detained, according to the Dennik N news outlet and TA3, a Slovakian TV station.

The shooting occurred after Fico attended a government meeting in Handlova. The prime minister was rushed to a hospital in the town and later transported by helicopter to the city of Banska Bystrica for urgent treatment.

Robert Fico
Fico was injured after shots were fired in the town of Handlova [File: Nadja Wohlleben/Reuters]

President Zuzana Caputova condemned “a brutal and ruthless” attack on the prime minister.

“I’m shocked,” Caputova said. “I wish Robert Fico a lot of strength in this critical moment and a quick recovery from this attack.”

President-elect Peter Pellegrini, an ally of Fico, called the assassination attempt “an unprecedented threat to Slovak democracy”.

“If we express other political opinions with pistols in squares, and not in polling stations, we are jeopardising everything that we have built together over 31 years of Slovak sovereignty,” Pellegrini said.

The attack comes three weeks ahead of crucial European Parliament elections, in which populist and right-wing parties in the 27-nation bloc appear poised to make gains.

European leaders, from Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, expressed shock at the shooting.

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