Slovak PM Robert Fico Survives Assassination Attempt, Sparking Political Tensions

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, a controversial populist leader known for his pro-Russian and anti-American views, is slowly recovering after being shot multiple times in an assassination attempt on May 15. The attack, which took place in the town of Handlova as Fico was meeting with supporters, has sent shockwaves through Slovakia and the European Union.

Fico, who has served as Slovakia’s Prime Minister for a total of about 10 years over three terms, was shot four times in the abdomen at close range. He was swiftly evacuated to the F.D. Roosevelt University Hospital in Banska Bystrica, where he underwent extensive surgery and remains in serious but stable condition.

The suspect, a 71-year-old man identified as Juraj C., was detained at the scene and has been charged with premeditated murder, although he claims he only intended to injure Fico. The incident has sparked political tensions in Slovakia and beyond, with some allies of Fico, such as Hungarian leader Viktor Orban, suggesting that the attack was politically motivated due to Fico’s opposition to Western involvement in Ukraine’s war with Russia.

The assassination attempt has drawn condemnation from leaders across the political spectrum in Europe, with many expressing concern about the growing divisions within the European Union ahead of crucial parliamentary elections in June. As Fico’s condition improves, the incident has reignited debates about the role of populist leaders and the future of European politics.