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Who Is Robert Fico, the Slovakian Prime Minister?

Who Is Robert Fico, the Slovakian Prime Minister?


Robert Fico, 59, has performed a pivotal position in Slovakian politics within the years because it gained independence in 1993 and has served as prime minister longer than another chief.

The nation gained independence after the so-called Velvet Revolution, a collection of well-liked and nonviolent protests in 1989 towards the Communist Party in what was at the moment nonetheless Czechoslovakia.

Mr. Fico, who had been a Communist Party member whereas it was in energy, based the Smer party within the late Nineties and commenced the primary of his three phrases as prime minister in 2006, serving for 4 years earlier than going into opposition after his coalition misplaced an election. Slovakia is a landlocked nation of round 5 million folks.

The Smer party, which began out on the political left however has more and more embraced right-wing views on immigration and cultural points, has ruled as a part of a coalition. Much of the worldwide dialogue of Mr. Fico’s management in recent times has centered on his ties to President Vladimir Putin of Russia and to Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary, Slovakia’s southern neighbor.

Mr. Fico returned to energy in 2012 however resigned as prime minister in July 2018 following mass demonstrations over the homicide of a journalist, Jan Kuciak, and his fiancée, Martina Kusnirova, who had been uncovering authorities corruption. The protests, which rocked the nation, had been the biggest seen because the Velvet Revolution; demonstrators demanded the resignation of the federal government and new elections.

Slovakia ranks excessive in unbiased assessments of press freedom, however the protesters had additionally sought deeper adjustments within the nation Mr. Fico had overseen.

He returned to energy in an election final fall, forming a coalition authorities after securing round 23 p.c of the vote, having campaigned towards sanctions that had been imposed on Russia after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine started in February 2022. Not one spherical of the nation’s ammunition must be despatched to Ukraine, he had advised voters.

That stance, in a rustic the place pro-Russian sentiment had traditionally been vital, apprehensive E.U. leaders in Brussels, who stated they feared that Slovakia might kind a pro-Russian alliance with Mr. Orban and, probably, Italy’s chief, Georgia Meloni, that will impede assist for Ukraine within the European Union. At the time, it was additionally seen as an indication of the obvious erosion of the pro-Ukrainian bloc that Europe had shaped after the invasion.

Slovakia’s army contributions to Ukraine had been negligible in contrast with international locations such because the United States and Britain. But final 12 months it turned one in every of a number of European Union international locations on Ukraine’s borders to dam imports of its grain, fearing that it might undermine Slovakia’s farmers.

In April, an ally of Mr. Fico, Peter Pellegrini, gained a vote to turn into Slovakia’s president. The place is essentially ceremonial, however analysts stated the victory strengthened the grip of political forces pleasant to Russia in Central Europe, provided that Mr. Pellegrini opposed offering army and monetary help to Ukraine.

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