Slovakian Prime Minister Shot

( – When someone takes on the role of being a country’s leader, whether as president, prime minister, premier, or chancellor, they put themselves in the public eye. This comes with a significantly increased risk, especially in today’s tense political climate. A recent attempt on the Slovakian prime minister’s life has thrust these dangers into the spotlight.

On Wednesday, May 15, Prime Minister Robert Fico exited the House of Culture, greeting a small crowd that had gathered outside. As he approached, a gunman stepped forward and shot him at close range. Fico doubled over and fell, but gunshots continued to ring out. All in all, the gunman fired five times. It’s not clear how many hit Fico or where, but he was rushed to the hospital and underwent surgery to save his life. That night, Defence Minister Robert Kalinak described the PM’s condition as “bad.”

Fico’s condition was precarious for several hours, but it was later updated to critical, and he is expected to survive. A man was arrested on-site for the crime and is said to be a 71-year-old poet. Officials originally refused to release his name but he has since been revealed as Juraj Cintula.

The shooting sparked several world leaders to speak out, including President Joe Biden who called the attack “a horrific act of violence.” Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is quite cozy with Fico, also commented, saying the PM is a “courageous and strong-minded man.”

Fico first served as prime minister from 2006 to 2010 and again from 2012 to 2018. However, in his last term, he was ousted but was able to rally, winning last year’s election after running on a conservative campaign in which he attacked the European Union, spoke out against supporting Ukraine, and took an anti-LGBTQ stance.

Some, particularly the PM’s allies in Parliament, believe political tensions are responsible for Fico’s shooting. They point fingers at Fico’s liberal opponents for creating a divisive atmosphere.

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