Home Europe Slovakia PM Robert Fico Shot: Did His Politics Make Him A Target?

Slovakia PM Robert Fico Shot: Did His Politics Make Him A Target?

A regular day for Slovakia’s PM took a horrific turn when a gunman fired five shots at PM Robert Fico from close range when he was leaving a government meeting in Handlova. In seconds, Robert Fico, who was shot in the stomach, slumped, bleeding.

The gunman was wrestled to the ground, handcuffed and taken into custody. The severely injured Prime Minister was flown from Handlova and taken in for emergency surgery that lasted a few hours. Local media identified the gunman as a 71-year-old poet. Interior minister Matúš Šutaj Eštok suspected the attacker had ‘political motivation’.

Hours later, the deputy Prime Minister Tomas Taraba told the BBC that the Prime Minister’s injuries were no longer life-threatening.

President of Slovakia, Zuzana Caputova called the shooting ‘an attack on democracy’.


The assassination attempt has come as a big shock with world leaders condemning the attack on the Slovak Prime Minister.

French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the attack saying he stands with the Slovak people and hopes for a speedy recovery for the PM. President Putin called the shooting a monstrous crime and said Fico is a ‘courageous and strong-minded man’.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said, “Such an attack is unbearable. Only a few months ago, he visited us here in this very place. I wish him a good recovery from this cowardly attack.”

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Biden expressed his deep concern over the attack. “And our thoughts are with his family and the people of Slovakia. We condemn this horrific act of violence,” she told the media.

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Robert Fico is Slovakia’s longest-serving Prime Minister, now in his third term.

His political journey saw him start on the left of the political spectrum but over the years, his politics has veered towards the right.

His election campaign last year was focused on attacking the European Union as a threat to national sovereignty and opposition to the supply of weapons to Ukraine. He is also opposed to immigration and has criticised same-sex relationships and has called adoption by same-sex couples as ‘perverse’.

He has been vocal about his anti-Islam stand too. In 2016 he said, “Islam has no place in Slovakia”, adding that “the problem is that (Muslims) want to change the face of the country”.

He is also known for his pro-Putin stance and has criticised the sanctions against Russia. He has said he would not arrest Putin in Slovakia in spite of an international warrant in his name.

In fact, under Fico, Slovakia became the first country to stop sending weapons to Ukraine

When he returned to power last year, it imitated a wider trend that was seen across Europe with more popular electoral support for right-leaning, at times hard-right leaders like Geert Wilders from the Netherlands.

There is concern in Slovakia now that this daylight assassination attempt could further polarise an already divided society.