Slovak Prime Minister Speaks Publicly for First Time Since Assassination Attempt

Prime Minister Robert Fico of Slovakia spoke publicly for the first time since being shot three weeks ago, blaming the opposition in a video released on Wednesday for what he described as a politically motivated assassination attempt.

In the recorded video address, which was posted to the official Facebook pages for Mr. Fico and his political party, Smer, the prime minister detailed his recovery and said it would be “a minor miracle” if he could return to work in a few weeks.

Mr. Fico, 59, was shot multiple times at close range on May 15 in Handlova, in central Slovakia, and required several rounds of surgery before he was released from a hospital on May 30. He has been recovering at his home in Bratislava, the capital.

He said in his address that the attack seriously harmed him, adding that he was receiving outpatient care. He said he hoped to return to work gradually by the end of June or early July “if everything goes as planned,” according to an English translation provided by Mr. Fico and Smer.

Mr. Fico said that “an activist of the Slovak opposition” had attempted to assassinate him because of his political views, describing the gunman as “a messenger of evil and political hatred.” Opposition parties have denied any connection to the shooting.

“I have no reason to believe this was an attack by a lone madman,” he said.

Mr. Fico, a combative populist who became prime minister in October after a narrow victory in a parliamentary election, spoke just before a moratorium on speeches and campaigning takes effect in Slovakia ahead of elections for the European Parliament on Saturday. He suggested in his remarks that his political opinions, including his opposition to military aid to Ukraine, had made him a target. His opponents have accused his government of eroding democracy.

“It is a cruel observation, but the right to a different opinion has ceased to exist in the E.U.,” he said.

A suspect was taken into custody and charged with attempted premeditated murder after the attack, the Slovak authorities announced in May.

Mr. Fico said that he would not take legal action against the suspect or seek damages.

“It’s time for me to make the first move, and that is forgiveness,” Mr. Fico said. “I feel no hatred toward the stranger who shot me.”

In his remarks, Mr. Fico spoke out against his political opponents, and said that he had been concerned for months that a political assassination attempt was possible.

“I should be full of anger, hatred and revenge,” he said. “Opposition to a politician you disagree with is not resolved by shooting him. On the contrary, I would like to express my belief that all the pain I have gone through and am still going through will serve something good.”

Mr. Fico’s Smer party has invoked the attack in its E.U. election campaigning.

Michal Simecka, the leader of the main opposition party, Progressive Slovakia, has denied any connection between his party and the assailant. In a statement on Facebook on Wednesday, he said he strongly condemned the assassination attempt and wished Mr. Fico a speedy recovery, but called the prime minister’s speech a disappointment.

The opposition Freedom and Solidarity party also issued a statement on Facebook denouncing any notion that it was connected to the shooting.

“We strongly object to any association of the murderer and his act against the prime minister with our policy, which is based on factual and professional criticism,” the statement said, adding that Mr. Fico had crossed a line by “throwing dirt on the opposition.”

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top