Robert Fico, 59, opposes military aid to Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression.

Bratislava:

Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of opposition liberals in European Union elections on Sunday, his party said, weeks after he was critically injured in an assassination attack.

Fico’s left-wing nationalist Samar SD party took to its Facebook page to congratulate “progressive Slovakia,” the winner of the election, and members of its new European Parliament.

Fico, 59, opposes military aid to Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression.

The latest opinion polls indicated he was the favorite to take the majority of the vote, seen as a sign that the assassination had boosted his party’s support.

Progressive Slovakia (PS) won 27.81 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election, six seats in the European Parliament, according to results widely reported in Slovak media ahead of their official publication.

Smer-SD won 24.76 percent of the vote, giving it five seats in the 720-member EU assembly.

The far-right Republika party came third with 12.53 percent and two seats, the results showed.

Fico was shot four times at close range on May 15 as he greeted supporters after a government meeting.

The alleged gunman, identified by Slovak media as 71-year-old poet Juraj Santola, has been charged with premeditated murder and is in custody.

In a video released Wednesday, Fico accused his opponents of fueling the “hate” that led to the attack.

Political analyst Daniel Carreux suggested that the attack mobilized PS supporters to vote as much as those of Smer-SD.

“It is not only Samar-SD that has benefited from this attack. Opposition parties, especially the PS, whose voters are worried about the situation in Slovakia, have also made important contributions,” he told AFP. Progress has been made.”

PS chairman Michal Simecka, a former vice-president of the European Parliament, said voters “sent a very important message to this government: slow down, because you can’t do what you want.”

The turnout in the country was just below 35 percent compared to the previous EU elections.

(Other than the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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