Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Ficoreturned to work on Tuesday, almost two months after a lone gunman shot him four times on May 15.

The 59-year-old Fico was shot from close range after a government meeting in central Slovakia and underwent two lengthy surgeries in a nearby hospital.

The gunman, identified by Slovak media as 71-year-old poet Juraj Cintula, is in custody awaiting trial.

Fico leads a three-party coalition of his centrist Smer-SD party, the centrist Hlas and the far-right SNS governing the EU and NATO member of 5.4 million people.

Slovak media said the nationalist-leaning Fico, who is often criticised by the EU along with Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban, wemt to Tuesday's cabinet meeting through a tunnel to avoid journalists.

"Dear progressive liberal media and opposition, I apologise for having survived but I'm back," Fico said on Facebook, posting a picture of himself in his office.

When Fico took office last autumn, Slovakia refused to continue military aid to Ukraine, facing a Russian invasion since February 2022.

The premier himself has been advocating peace talks with Russia, like Hungary's Orban.

Fico's cabinet has also raised eyebrows by approving bills seen as jeopardising judicial and media freedoms.

Fico was released from hospital on May 31 and made his first public appearance at a ceremony near Bratislava last Friday.

In a speech, he hailed Orban's controversial trip to Moscow, saying he "would have loved to join him" if he were healthy enough.

Fico also called on Slovakia to build a wall to stop "progressive and liberal ideologies", likening them to cancer.

Following the assassination attempt, Fico walks with a crutch. He has also visibly lost weight.

 

                

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