Headline RoundupMay 18th, 2024

How Political Polarization Paved the Way for the Attempted Assassination of Slovakia’s Prime Minister

Summary from the AllSides News Team

In the wake of the assassination attempt on Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico, many mainstream outlets from the left and center highlighted political polarization within Slovakia and the European Union.

‘On The Brink’: John Kampfner, writing for The Guardian (Lean Left bias), claimed the assassination attempt “could lead to widespread civil unrest,” citing recent turbulence like Fico’s resignation from PM over the assassination of a journalist in 2018 and the inability of the next administration to smooth the country's woes as a tense backdrop. Kampfner also linked Fico to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, calling the two Putin sympathizers who are thorns in the sides of the European Union and NATO.

Saw It Coming: A report from BBC News (Center bias) highlighted how last month, Fico warned tensions in the country were so high that he believed "a leading government politician" would soon be assassinated. BBC also gave context on the country’s turbulent recent past and highlighted an account from a state media head who said people may be upset with Fico’s efforts to abolish the broadcast service and predicted Fico will return to his post “full of revenge.”

More Violence: Anton Spisak, writing for The Telegraph (Lean Right bias), highlighted the war in Ukraine and alleged “erosion of democratic norms” as drivers of polarization in Slovakia, splitting the populace’s support between “pro-Western” parties and populist politicians like Fico. Spisak says the assassination could polarize the country even further and lead to more violence, which he says would be “the worst possible outcome.”

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