Slovak premier Robert Fico critically injured in assassination attempt

Robert Fico

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Robert Fico - Figure 1
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The Slovakia leader, Robert Fico, suffered serious injuries due to gunfire on Wednesday. The government deemed it was an effort to assassinate him, while some politicians associated it with the country's strong divide.

The office of Fico conveyed that his condition was critical because he was shot several times while greeting individuals in Handlová, which is approximately 190km away from Bratislava, the capital city of the Central European country.

"It's up to the next few hours," the statement continued.

According to the authorities, the populist leader who is 59 years old was transported via helicopter to a hospital located in the city of Banská Bystrica rather than Bratislava. This was because an urgent intervention was required.

On Wednesday afternoon, a Slovakian government representative reported that surgery was scheduled for him. According to local sources, a person with a gun permit was apprehended as a potential perpetrator.

The incident of the shooting occurred during a period of intense division within Slovakia. Fico, who established the populist Smer party, commenced his fourth stint as the leader in October of last year, heading a coalition of three parties that hold skeptical views towards the European Union.

The leader's administration has asked the European Union to remove the penalties imposed on Russia for its complete takeover of Ukraine. It furthermore desires the organization to implement severe actions concerning immigration.

Robert Fico - Figure 2
Photo Financial Times

Several politicians belonging to the coalition of the prime minister hastily accused the opposition of instigating the assault.

Tomáš Taraba, the deputy prime minister, expressed that the opposition is entirely responsible for violence and negative actions.

According to Milan Nič, who works as an analyst at the German Council on Foreign Relations and has previously advised Slovakia's foreign ministry, the occurrence is not a standalone event. He added that Slovakia is one of the most divided countries in Europe and there are frequent warnings made against political figures' safety.

The chief of the liberal opposition in the country, Michal Šimečka, expressed his disapproval of the aggressive behavior and the recent occurrence where Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot, through a platform named X. He stated that they firmly denounce such activities, and added that they foresee the Prime Minister's recovery.

Meanwhile, we urge politicians to avoid making any comments or engaging in behaviors that could worsen the already high levels of tension, he included.

Since taking back his position in the EU country's highest government, Fico has made some bold political decisions that have caused controversy. One example is his choice to shut down an office that was meant to prevent corruption, despite being warned by Brussels not to do so.

In the previous month, his alliance progressed with a legislation aimed at non-profit organizations, which objectors claimed was influenced by Hungary's repressive measures against civic establishments.

The President of Slovakia, Zuzana Čaputová, expressed her shock at the violent and careless assault on former Prime Minister Robert Fico. She also wished him a full recovery and offered him support during this tough time.

The Hungarian leader, Viktor Orbán, who shares a political affiliation with Fico in the European Union, expressed his dismay over the "horrible assault on my close companion."

Many leaders in Europe have spoken out against the shooting. Ursula von der Leyen, who is the head of the European Commission, stated that violent acts like this are not acceptable in our society and can harm democracy, which is something that we all value greatly. She also expressed her sympathy for PM Fico and his loved ones during this difficult time.

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