Slovakian prime minister injured in shooting: Who is Robert Fico?

Slovakian prime minister injured in shooting: Who is Robert Fico?

Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot Wednesday following a meeting in the town of Handlova.

Defense Minister Robert Kalina said Fico was being treated for his wounds and described his condition to reporters as “extraordinarily serious,” according to The Associated Press (AP).

Fico, 59, was shot after he was leaving a Cabinet meeting in the Trenčín region of central Slovakia, Slovak news agency TASR reported. A post on his Facebook page said the leader was in “life threatening” condition after the incident.

Here’s what to know about Fico:

Chair of the Smer Party

Fico was born in 1964 in Czechoslovakia — now the Czech Republic and Slovakia — and was a member of the Communist Party while it was in power.

He was first elected to Parliament in 1992 as a member of the Democratic Left Party, per the AP. He later became the chair of the Smer Party in 1999, which the AP noted has been described as left-populist.

The New York Times reported that the Smer Party has taken on some more right-wing views on issues like immigration.

Forced out of office amid protests in 2018

During his second term, Fico and his party faced nationwide demonstrations following the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kusnirova, according to the Times.

The Times said the couple were working to uncover government corruption at the time. The pair was reportedly investigating connections between Fico’s associates and the Italian mafia, according to The Washington Post.

Mass demonstrations overtook the country, demanding that Fico and his party step down from government leadership.

Fico stepped down in July 2018.

Longest-serving prime minister in Slovakia

The Times reported that Fico is Slovakia’s longest-serving prime minister.

Fico first served in the post from 2006-2010, before his party became the opposition for two years. He then served his second term from 2012-2018, before resigning.

The AP reported that Fico’s party won the parliamentary elections last year after five years of being the opposition. The news service noted that the party ran on a pro-Russia and anti- American platform.

During his campaign, he promised to end the country’s military support to Ukraine amid its ongoing war with Russia. The AP noted that his administration stopped arms sales immediately after taking office.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.