Who is Slovak PM Robert Fico?

Robert Fico is a populist leader who staged a political comeback last year.
The 59-year-old has previously been compared to former US president Donald Trump.

But his election victory last autumn meant NATO also had another leader who was sympathetic to Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Robert Fico in ‘life-threatening condition’ after assassination attempt – follow live updates
Critics have voiced increasing fears Mr Fico would abandon Slovakia’s pro-Western course.

This would echo some of the concerns raised about Viktor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary, another NATO member.
Thousands of people have repeatedly held protests across Slovakia against his policies.

Mr Fico and his SMER, or Direction party, secured nearly 23% of the votes at the polls in October.

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Slovak PM bundled into car after being shot

He is known for foul-mouthed tirades against journalists and has campaigned against immigration and LGBTQ+ rights.


The prime minister has previously opposed EU sanctions on Russia – and has been against Ukraine joining NATO.

Image: Mr Fico was shot and injured on Wednesday. Pic: AP
He believes the US and other nations should use their influence to force Russia and Ukraine to strike a compromise peace deal.
Mr Fico also repeated Mr Putin’s unsupported claim that the Ukrainian government runs a Nazi state from which ethnic Russians in the country need protection.
The politician founded the SMER party in 1999 and has served as the nation’s prime minister for over 10 years across three different spells.

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Slovakian president-elect Peter Pellegrini called the apparent assassination attempt ‘a threat to everything that has adorned Slovak democracy so far’.

With a campaign based on overturning austerity reforms, Mr Fico started his first four-year spell as the country’s leader in 2006.
He returned as leader in the parliamentary elections of 2012, but failed in an attempt to win the presidential election of 2014.

In 2016, despite winning the parliamentary polls, Mr Fico’s party was unable to secure a majority and after a multi-party coalition allowed him to remain as leader, he resigned in 2018.
As leader of the largest party following the October 2023 election, Mr Fico formed a coalition with Voice – Social Democracy (Hlas) and the Slovak National Party, and began his fourth term as prime minister.

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All three coalition parties are either leftist or nationalist and, having previously expressed anti-American views, he has spoken about what he called Western influence in Ukraine’s war which only led to Slavic nations killing each other.
His popularity among some, however, has been based on promises to protect the living standards of those left behind in a country where conditions for many are only slowly catching up with western Europe and where many hold relatively fond memories of a communist-era past.

Source : Sky News