Slovak PM living ‘worst days of his life’ – as leader attacks ‘attempted assassination on democracy’

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico is fighting for his life after yesterday’s assassination attempt, Slovak officials have said, as they condemned the attack as an “attempted assassination on democracy”.

President-elect Peter Pellegrini made the remarks as he called for calm in a joint news conference with outgoing President Zuzana Caputova.

“An attempted assassination of the prime minister is an attempted assassination on democracy,” Mr Pellegrini said.

He said he was “appalled” both as a citizen and future president of Slovakia “where hate can lead us”.

“This assassination attempt needs to be condemned by all of us jointly … We must not respond to hate with more hate or else this evil will never be stopped,” he added.

Ms Caputova, a political rival of Mr Fico, said the heads of Slovakia’s political parties will meet in an effort to restore calm.

Slovakia's prime minister Robert Fico
Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico

Earlier today, the country’s defence minister said Mr Fico was in a very serious condition due to how “complicated” his gunshot injuries were.

More on Robert Fico

Multiple shots were fired outside a cultural centre in the town of Handlova, around 85 miles northeast of the capital Bratislava, where the 59-year-old was meeting supporters, the government said.

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Video shows moment Slovak PM was shot

A suspect is in custody, and Slovakia’s interior minister has said an initial investigation had found a “clear political motivation” behind the attack, but gave no further details.

The attack comes as political campaigning heats up three weeks ahead of Europe-wide elections to choose members for the European Parliament.

Mr Fico has long been a divisive figure. His return to power last year on a pro-Russian, anti-American ticket led to worries among fellow EU and NATO members that he would turn his country further away from the Western mainstream.

Under his stewardship, the government has halted arms deliveries to Ukraine, and his opponents worry he will lead Slovakia in the footsteps of Viktor Orban’s Hungary.

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

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