Slovakia PM Robert Fico critically injured after being shot. Who is he?

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was rushed to a hospital after an assassination attempt by an unidentified gunman on Wednesday.

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico speaks during a press conference with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest, Hungary on Jan. 16, 2024. (AP)

Robert Fico, 59, was hit in the stomach after four shots were fired at him in front of the local House of Culture while he was meeting his supporters. The suspect has been taken into custody.

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According to a post on his Facebook profile, Rober Fico’s condition remains critical.

It said he was being transported by helicopter to the Banská Bystrica, 29 kilometers (63 miles) away from Handlova because it would take too long to get to Bratislava due to the necessity of an acute procedure. “The next few hours will decide,” it said.

Who is Robert Fico?

Born to a working-class family, Robert Fico graduated with a law degree in 1986 and joined the then-ruling Communist party.After the fall of Communist rule in 1989, he worked as a government lawyer, won a seat in parliament under the renamed Communist party. Fico also represented Slovakia at the European Court for Human Rights.Fico has run the SMER-Social Democracy party since 1999 after establishing it to oppose the reformist centre-right cabinet, according to Reuters.

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He won elections for the first time in 2006 and served as PM till 2010. He again won in 2012 and served till 2018.In 2018, Fico marred into controversy after journalist Jan Kuciak, who was investigating high-level graft, and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova were killed by a contract killer.The journalist’s killing fuelled mass protests against graft and Fico was forced to resign.

Also Read | Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky removes head of state guards after recent plot to assassinate him

After five years in opposition, Fico’s party won parliamentary elections last year on a pro-Russian and anti-American platform.He vowed to bring an end to Slovakia providing Ukraine with military support as it battled Russia’s full-scale invasion, and has argued that NATO and the United States provoked Moscow into war.

(Inputs from AP, Reuters)

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