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Slovakia’s Prime Minister Shot in Assassination Attempt

Slovakia's prime minister, Robert Fico

Slovakia’s Prime Minister, Robert Fico, is in critical condition after being shot during an assassination attempt on Wednesday.

The attack occurred as Fico was leaving a government meeting in Handlova, central Slovakia.

The incident has shocked the country, prompting condemnation from European Union and NATO partners.

The shooter, reportedly a 71-year-old man, targeted Fico as he was greeting a crowd. Witnesses heard multiple shots fired before police subdued the suspect.

In a statement, the government office confirmed the assassination attempt, while media outlets identified the shooter as a 71-year-old man, whose motives remain unclear.

“I have absolutely no idea what my father intended, what he planned, what happened,” said the shooter’s son, according to a news outlet, Aktuality.sk.

Fico, a veteran leader who returned as prime minister last October, has faced criticism for his stance on issues like the Ukraine war and his handling of criminal law and media reforms, which have sparked public protests.

The 59-year-old has before spoken against the sanctions imposed on Russia for invading Ukraine, and pledged to halt military support for Ukraine.

Following the attack, Slovakia’s largest opposition party, Progressive Slovakia, cancelled a planned protest, urging politicians to avoid actions that could escalate tensions.

Acting speaker of parliament, Peter Ziga, condemned the shooting as an attack on democracy, emphasising the need for unity in Slovak society.

Under Slovak law, a deputy prime minister will assume Fico’s duties during his incapacitation. International leaders, including European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, and German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, have expressed shock and solidarity with Fico and Slovakia.

President-elect, Peter Pellegrini, is cutting short a foreign trip to return to Slovakia, according to his party spokesperson.

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