Updated May 15th, 2024 at 21:59 IST

Explained: Who is Robert Fico, The Slovak PM Who Was Shot Today?

Fico's political journey took a turn in 1999 when he founded the center-left Smer-SD party after being rejected for a ministerial position by Democratic Left.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Robert Fico | Image:AP
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Slovakia's Prime Minister, Robert Fico, was shot in the town of Handlová, where he had been meeting with supporters. The incident has prompted many to wonder about the man behind the headlines.

Born into a working-class family on September 15, 1964, Fico initially pursued a career in law and entered politics just before the Velvet Revolution of 1989, which ultimately led to the dissolution of former Czechoslovakia. He was originally a member of the Communist Party. 

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Fico founded centre-left Smer-SD party in 1999

Fico's political journey took a turn in 1999 when he founded the center-left Smer-SD party after being rejected for a ministerial position by the Democratic Left, the political heirs of the Communists.

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Throughout his career, Fico has faced allegations of corruption, which he vehemently denies. He is known for his bold and outspoken demeanour, as well as his interests in bodybuilding, football, and fast cars.

Fico is an admirer of Vladimir Putin 

Fico has expressed admiration for leaders like Vladimir Putin, suggesting that he would not allow the Russian president to be arrested under an international warrant if he were to visit Slovakia. He also looks up to Hungary's Viktor Orbán, praising him for defending the interests of his country and its people.

A skilled tactician, Fico has navigated between mainstream, pro-EU positions and nationalist, anti-western rhetoric, often adjusting his stance based on public opinion or political reality.

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Slovakia's President Zuzana Čaputová has said that “We may not fully comprehend yet the seriousness of what has happened today. The shooting of the Prime Minister is first and foremost an attack on a human being — but it’s also an attack on democracy. Violence is absolutely unacceptable. Hate speech and rhetoric full of hate, which we witness across society, leads to hateful acts. Please, let us stop this”.

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Published May 15th, 2024 at 21:59 IST