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Who is Robert Fico? Slovakia Prime Minister shot multiple times

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot multiple times after a political event Wednesday afternoon, an episode of violence that punctuated his decades-long political career.

His deputy prime minister Tomas Taraba later told the BBC that he believed Fico would survive the attack, saying “he is not in a dangerous situation at the moment”.

Fico, 59, was born in 1964 in what was then Czechoslovakia. A member of the Communist Party before the dissolution of communism, he earned a law degree in 1986 and was first elected to the Slovak Parliament in 1992 as a member of the Democratic Left Party.

He served for several years in the 1990s as a government agent representing the Slovak Republic before the European Court of Human Rights and the European Commission of Human Rights. In 1999, he became president of the Smer (Directorate) party, of which he has been a key figure ever since.

He and Smer have most often been described as left-wing populists, although he has also been compared to right-wing politicians like the nationalist prime minister of neighboring Hungary, Viktor Orbán.

Fico returned to power in Slovakia last year, after serving as prime minister twice, from 2006 to 2010 and from 2012 to 2018. His third term made him the longest-serving head of government in the history of Slovakia, European Union and Member of NATO.

After five years in opposition, Fico’s party won parliamentary elections last year on a pro-Russian, anti-American platform. He pledged to end Slovakia’s military support for Ukraine as it fights Russia’s full-scale invasion, and argued that NATO and the United States had pushed Moscow at war.

After its electoral victory, the new government immediately stopped arms deliveries to Ukraine. Thousands repeatedly took to the streets across Slovakia to rally against Fico’s pro-Russian and other policies, including plans to modify the penal code eliminate a special anti-corruption prosecutor and take control of public media.

Fico’s return to power has sparked concern among his critics that he and his party – long marred by scandals – could steer Slovakia away from its pro-Western path. He pledged to pursue a “sovereign” foreign policy, promised a tough stance against migration and non-governmental organizations, and campaigned against LGBTQ+ rights.

He built a reputation for his tirades against journalists and faced criminal charges in 2022 for allegedly creating a criminal group and abuse of power. In 2018, he and his government resigned amid controversy after a Slovak investigation. journalist Ján Kuciak was murdered with his fiancée. Kuciak had reported tax crimes involving senior Slovak politicians.

Fico is married and the father of one child.

News Source : apnews.com
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