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Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico Shot and in Critical Condition: Political Turmoil Ensues

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Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico finds himself in a grave condition after being struck by multiple bullets following a cabinet meeting, according to the government of Slovakia in Central Europe.

Robert Fico, a populist who took office last year and whose ally was recently elected president, is now fighting for his life, the government reported. Fico, who was hit several times by gunfire, is currently being airlifted to Banska Bystrica, a city in central Slovakia, the government stated.

Reports on TA3, a Slovak TV channel, revealed that the 59-year-old leader was shot in the stomach after four shots were fired outside the House of Culture in Handlova, a town around 150 kilometers northeast of the capital, Bratislava.

The shooting occurred following a cabinet meeting in Handlova, with Robert Fico seen being taken into a car by bodyguards according to the Dennik N newspaper. The alleged shooter was apprehended by the police.

After a government meeting in Handlova today, there was an assassination attempt on the Prime Minister, confirmed the government. We confirm the attack on the Prime Minister, said police spokesperson Matej Neumann to AFP.

Lubos Blaha, the vice president of the Parliament, verified the incident during a session of the Slovak Parliament and adjourned it indefinitely, as reported by the Slovak news agency TASR.

Slovak President Zuzana Caputova condemned the attack as brutal and ruthless. I am shocked. I wish Robert Fico much strength in this critical moment to recover from this brutal and ruthless attack, said the outgoing president in a statement.

The major Slovak opposition parties, Progressive Slovakia and Freedom and Solidarity, canceled a planned protest against a controversial government project to overhaul public broadcasting, fearing it would give the government complete control over public radio and television.

Robert Fico, serving as Prime Minister for the third time, led his left-leaning Smer (Direction) party to victory in the legislative elections on September 30 in Slovakia, marking a return to the political forefront campaigning on a pro-Russian and anti-American platform.

The incident received quick condemnation from European leaders, even though no motive for the attack had immediately surfaced.

The head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen condemned the heinous attack, stating that such acts of violence have no place in society and undermine democracy, our most valuable common good. My thoughts are with Prime Minister Fico and his family, she wrote on a platform X.

Other leaders, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, expressed shock and solidarity with Fico in this difficult time.

The attack on Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is horrendous, commented Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. We strongly condemn this act of violence against the head of government of a neighboring partner state, he stated.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also expressed shock and dismay over the attack, wishing Fico the necessary strength for a speedy recovery.

Rachel Adams

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