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Slovak Prime Minister Accuses Opposition of Fostering Hate After Shooting Incident

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Slovak Prime Minister Robert Pizzo accuses the opposition of inciting hate that led to an assassination attempt on him, as tensions rise before the European Parliament elections.

Slovak Prime Minister Accuses Opposition of Fostering Hate After Assassination Attempt

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Pizzo has accused the opposition of fostering a climate of 'hate' that culminated in an assassination attempt on his life. This was his first public response since the shocking incident three weeks ago left him seriously injured.

In a recorded speech posted on Facebook, Pizzo described the shooter as 'an activist of the Slovak opposition, a messenger of evil and political hatred that the failed and politically frustrated opposition has fueled to uncontrollable proportions.' The Prime Minister warned that if the opposition continues in its current course, 'the horror of May 15,' which was witnessed live by many, could lead to further violence and more victims.

Pizzo, who appears to be recovering well, pledged to return to his duties by the end of June or early July. He emphasized that he bore no hatred towards his attacker, stating, 'I forgive him,' and indicated that he does not plan to pursue legal action against the shooter. The incident occurred in Handlova, approximately 140 km northeast of the capital Bratislava, as Pizzo was greeting supporters after a government meeting.

The suspect, a 71-year-old retired amateur poet named Jurai Cintola, has been critical of Pizzo's pro-Russian policies, which have sparked division in Slovakia. Contrary to the interior minister's claim that Cintola was a 'lone wolf' radicalized in recent times, Pizzo pointed to a broader issue of deep-seated political animosity.

In his speech, Pizzo reiterated his controversial stance on Russia's war in Ukraine, which diverges from the mainstream European perspective. Critics accuse him of undermining democracy by attacking the judicial system's independence and the free press. Despite speculation that the assassination attempt might prompt him to moderate his rhetoric, Pizzo's recent speech suggests otherwise.

With the European Parliament elections approaching, polls indicate a close race between Pizzo's party, Samar, and the main opposition party, Progressive Slovakia. The political climate in Slovakia remains tense as these developments continue to unfold.

  • This incident has not only shaken Slovakia but also attracted significant attention across Europe. It underscores the volatile nature of Slovak politics and the profound divisions within the country.
  • The past few months have seen heightened political tensions exacerbated by differing views on international issues, particularly the conflict in Ukraine. Pizzo's administration has faced criticism for its perceived alignment with Russian interests, a stance that runs against the grain of the broader European Union consensus.
  • The upcoming European Parliament elections will be a critical juncture for Slovakia. They could either reinforce Pizzo's position or bolster the opposition's efforts to bring about political change. As the country prepares for this pivotal moment, the impact of the assassination attempt, both on public sentiment and political strategies, will be closely watched.
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Refs: | Le Parisien | WALLA |

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