Slovak Prime Minister Fico in 'life threatening' condition, next hours decisive

FILE - Chairman of SMER-Social Democracy party Robert Fico arrives at his party's headquarters in Bratislava, Slovakia, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023
FILE - Chairman of SMER-Social Democracy party Robert Fico arrives at his party's headquarters in Bratislava, Slovakia, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023 Copyright Petr David Josek/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Petr David Josek/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Eloise Hardy with Euronews
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Robert Fico is in a life-threatening condition, the Slovak government office said in an emailed statement.

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Slovakia’s populist Prime Minister Robert Fico has been shot and injured in a shooting in Handlova, Slovakia, local media reports.

"Three or four" shots were heard, according to a journalist on the scene. Euronews understands Fico acquired wounds to his head and chest. Local reports say he was airlifted to a nearby hospital.

A suspect has been detained by police.

Deputy speaker of parliament Lubos Blaha confirmed the incident during a session of Parliament and adjourned it until further notice, the Slovak TASR news agency said.

EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen was quick to react the news on X. "I strongly condemn the vile attack on Prime Minister Robert Fico. Such acts of violence have no place in our society and undermine democracy, our most precious common good."

"My thoughts are with PM Fico and his family."

In an initial reaction to the incident, Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová condemned “a brutal and ruthless” attack targeting Fico.

"I strongly condemn today's brutal and reckless attack on Prime Minister Robert Fico. I am shocked. I wish Robert Fico every strength to recover from the attack at this critical time." Čaputová said on her social media post.

Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán wrote on X: "I was deeply shocked by the heinous attack against my friend, Prime Minister Robert Fico. We pray for his health and quick recovery! God bless him and his country!"

Donald Tusk, Prime Minister of Poland, also writing on X, said "Shocking news from Slovakia. Robert, my thoughts are with you in this very difficult moment."

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala also expressed her shock at the news: "The news about the shooting of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is shocking. I wish the prime minister to get well as soon as possible. We must not tolerate violence, it must have no place in society."

Gitanas Nausėda, President of Lithuania, called for an investigation into the incident. He condemned the attack on X: "There should be zero tolerance to such acts of violence. I call on a thorough investigation and wish PM Fico a full recovery."

Handlova is located about 150km northeast of Bratislava, the capital.

PM Fico has been a politically contentious character in Slovakia, and rose to prominence on a pro-Russian and anti-US message. In January, he halted aid to Ukraine.

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