Slovakia's prime minister expected to survive assassination attempt as shock reverberates across Europe - Living Strong Television Network

Slovakia’s prime minister is expected to survive after he was shot multiple times and gravely wounded during an attempted assassination on Wednesday, according to his deputy.

Doctors fought for several hours to save Prime Minister Robert Fico’s life after he was shot in the abdomen while he was greeting supporters at an event outside a cultural center in the town of Handlova, Defense Minister Robert Kalina told reporters.

“I guess in the end he will survive,” Deputy Prime Minister Tomas Taraba told the BBC, adding: “He’s not in a life-threatening situation at this moment.”

A suspect was swiftly arrested following the attack Wednesday and an initial investigation found “a clear political motivation,” Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok said.

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The 59-year-old’s attempted assassination just weeks before an election shocked the small country and reverberated concern across Europe.

“A physical attack on the prime minister is, first of all, an attack on a person, but it is also an attack on democracy,” said outgoing President Zuzana Caputova, Fico’s political rival. “Any violence is unacceptable. The hateful rhetoric we’ve been witnessing in society leads to hateful actions. Please, let’s stop it.”

President-elect Peter Pellegrini, an ally of Fico, called the shooting “an unprecedented threat to Slovak democracy. If we express other political opinions with pistols in squares, and not in polling stations, we are jeopardizing everything that we have built together over 31 years of Slovak sovereignty.”

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also denounced the violence.

“Every effort should be made to ensure that violence does not become the norm in any country, form or sphere,” he said.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala chimed in with other world leaders and wished the prime minister a swift recovery, saying “we cannot tolerate violence, there’s no place for it in society.”

The Czech Republic and Slovakia formed Czechoslovakia until 1992.

Fico, a divisive figure in Slovakia, returned to power last year after campaigning on a pro-Russian, anti-American platform.

At the time, European Union members expressed worry that he could potentially lead Slovakia – a nation of 5.4 million that belongs to NATO – to abandon its pro-Western course.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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