Slovakia's prime minister in a 'life-threatening condition' after being shot

Slovakia's populist Prime Minister Robert Fico has been injured in a shooting and taken to hospital. A suspect has been detained by police.

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico is in a life-threatening condition after being shot multiple times following a government meeting.

The country’s government office says Fico has been airlifted to Banska Bystrica Hospital following the shooting, which took place in front of the local House of Culture in the town of Handlova, about 150 kilometres northeast of the capital Bratislava.

Fico had been meeting supporters when he was reportedly shot in the stomach. A suspect has been detained by police, local media said.

Fico had been attending a government meeting in Handlova, Slovakia’s state news agency TASR reported on Wednesday, quoting deputy speaker of the Slovak Parliament, Lubos Blaha.

A reporter for the daily newspaper Dennik N daily heard shooting and then saw rescuers carrying the premier to a car.

Rescue workers take Robert Fico to a hospital in Banska Bystrica, central Slovakia / Credit: AP

Several shots were fired, according to news agency, TASR. Fico’s condition was not immediately known.

Slovakia’s 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 recover from this attack.”

Prime Minister Fico speaks with people in Handlova earlier today, May 15 / Credit: AP

The opposition leader, Michal Simecka, also responded on X, saying: “I am shocked and appalled by the shooting of Prime Minister Robert Fico.”

“We unequivocally and strongly condemn any violence,” he added.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also posted on X: “Shocked to hear this awful news. All our thoughts are with Prime Minister Fico and his family.”

Other global leaders, including Germany’s Olaf Scholz, Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and Hungary’s Viktor Orban, have condemned the attack.

European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, commented: “Such acts of violence have no place in our society and undermine democracy, our most precious common good.” She said she strongly condemned the “vile attack”.

Robert Fico arrives in Handlova for a government away-from-home session / Credit: AP

Who is Robert Fico?

Fico, a third-time premier and leader of the leftist Smer (Direction) party, won Slovakia’s September 30 parliamentary elections – staging a comeback after campaigning on a pro-Russian, anti-American ticket.

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.

Thousands have repeatedly rallied in the capital and across Slovakia to protest Fico’s policies.

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