Who Is Slovak PM Fico, What Are The ‘Conspiracies’...?

Slovak prime minister Robert Fico, who was said to be in a life-threatening condition after an assassination bid on Wednesday, took power for the fourth time last October. Fico, 59, has turned the country’s foreign policy towards pro-Russian views. Fico has also initiated reforms of criminal law and the media, which have raised concerns over weakening the rule of law. During a three-decade career, Fico has skilfully weaved between pro-European mainstream and nationalistic anti-Brussels and anti-American positions, while showing a willingness to change course depending on public opinion or changed political realities.

Born to a working-class family, Fico graduated with a law degree in 1986 and joined the then-ruling Communist Party. After the 1989 fall of Communist rule, he worked as a government lawyer, won a seat in parliament under the renamed Communist party, and represented slovakia at the european court for Human Rights. Fico parlayed dissatisfaction with liberal economic reforms into his first election victory in 2006. But he also kept the nation on course to adopt the euro in 2009 despite forming a government with nationalists. His second cabinet won after another centre-right coalition broke up two years later, and a tough stance against migrants helped him win re-election in 2016. He embraced more extreme positions over the past four years that include strident criticisms of western allies, pledges to stop military support for Kyiv, opposition to sanctions on russia and threats to veto any future NATO membership invite for Ukraine. His coalition halted Slovak official shipments of weapons for ukraine and he has spoken about what he called western influence in the war which only led to Slavic nations killing each other.

Fico has remained steady throughout his career, however, on promises to protect living standards of those left behind in a country where conditions for many are only slowly catching up to western europe and where many hold relatively fond memories of a communist-era past. His campaign call of “Not a single round” for ukraine appealed to voters in the nation of 5.5 million where only a minority in the NATO member country believe russia is at fault for the ukraine war.

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