Slovakian PM Robert Fico in life-threatening condition after being shot

15 May 2024, 16:24

Robert Fico
Robert Fico in life-threatening condition. Picture: PA

A TV station reported that the populist prime minister had been shot in the stomach during a trip to Handlova – about 93 miles from Bratislava.

Slovakia’s populist Prime Minister Robert Fico is in a life-threatening condition after being wounded in a shooting on Wednesday afternoon, it has been reported.

In a message posted to his Facebook account, it was said that Fico “has been shot multiple times and is currently in life-threatening condition.

“At this moment he is transported by helicopter to Banska Bystrica, because it would take too long to get to Bratislava due to the necessity of an acute procedure. The next few hours will decide.”

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, about 93 miles north east of the capital, where the leader was meeting with supporters.

Slovakia Prime Minister
Medical workers take Robert Fico to a hospital in the town of Banska Bystrica (Jan Kroslak/TASR via AP)

A suspect has been detained, it said.

The shooting in Slovakia comes 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 Slovakia’s parliament and adjourned it until further notice, the Slovak TASR news agency said.

Slovakia’s major opposition parties, Progressive Slovakia and Freedom and Solidarity, cancelled a planned protest against a controversial government plan to overhaul public broadcasting that they say would give the government full control of public radio and television.

“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 September 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 Orban.

By Press Association

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