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Robert Fico (WFAC)

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Robert Fico
Robert Fico (Munich Goes Sour).jpg
Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia
Incumbent
Assumed office
24 June 2013
President Karel Schwarzenberg
Preceded by Miroslav Kalousek
Leader of the Czechoslovak Social Democracy
Incumbent
Assumed office
17 November 2007
Preceded by Vladimír Špidla
Federal Minister of Labour
and Social Affairs
In office
6 October 2003 – 3 July 2007
Prime Minister Vladimír Špidla
Preceded by Vlasta Parkanová
Succeeded by Jiří Pospíšil
Member of the Federal Assembly
Incumbent
Assumed office
4 June 2001
Slovak Minister of Justice
In office
1998–2000
Prime Minister Dušan Čaplovič
Preceded by Jozef Liščák
Succeeded by Daniel Lipšic
Member of the Slovak National Council
In office
1990–2001
Personal details
Born September 15, 1964 (1964-09-15) (age 52)
Czechoslovakia Topoľčany, SFR, Czechoslovakia
Nationality Slovak
Political party Czechoslovak Social Democracy
Spouse(s) Svetlana Svobodová
Children Michal Fico
Alma mater Comenius University
Religion Roman Catholicism

Robert Fico (born 15 September 1964) is a Slovak politician who has been Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia since 23 June 2013. He has been the leader of the Czechoslovak Social Democracy since 2007. He also served as the Slovak Minister of Justice from 1998 to 2000 in Dušan Čaplovič's government, and as Federal Minister of Justice Vladimír Špidla's cabinet between 2003 and 2007. Fico has been described as a populist politician belonging to the left wing of social democracy.

Early life and education

Fico was born in 15 September 1964, in the town of Topoľčany in the southwestern Nitra Region. His father Ľudovit Fico was a forklift operator and his mother Emilie Ficová worked in a shoe store. He has two siblings, a brother Ladislav who is a construction entrepreneur and a fourteen years younger sister Lucia Chabadová, who is a prosecutor. He grew up and lived with his family in the village of Hrušovany, until the age of six, when they moved to the nearby town of Topoľčany.

Fico has described his childhood ambitions as wanting either to become a politician, sports reporter or an archeologist. After completing elementary school, he enrolled in the local Upper Secondary School (Slovak: Gymnazium) of Topoľčany, graduating in the summer of 1982. Later the same year he enrolled in the Law Faculty of the Comenius University in Bratislava. His teachers were impressed with him, and one of his teachers from university, the future prime minister Jozef Moravčík, described him as "ambitious, very confident and very involved in discussions". He graduated as juris doctor in 1986 specializing in criminal law.

After graduating from university, he completed his mandatory military service as an assistant military investigator, stationed in the Czech town of Janovice between 1986 and 1987. He later worked for the Institute of State and Law of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, as well as with the Justice Ministry until 1990. During this period he wrote and completed his PhD degree, with a thesis on "The death penalty in Czechoslovakia". In 2002 he completed his postgraduate study, earning him the title of associate professor.

Early political career

Fico joined the Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party in 1984. He was first elected as a Member of the Slovak National Assembly in 1990. In the 1998 Slovak elections, Fico received the biggest number of preferential votes among his party colleagues. Subsequently, he was appointed Minister of Justice by Slovak Prime Minister Dušan Čaplovič, a position he held until 2000. In 2001, he was first elected as a member of the Chamber of Deputies in the Czechoslovak Federal Assembly.

Fico and Stanislav Gross was now considered to be the two emerging stars of the Social Democratic Party. Fico established himself as an opposition politician criticizing the reforms of the right-wing government of Mirek Topolánek. Following the 2003 federal elections, Fico served as Minister of Justice Vladimír Špidla's cabinet between 2003 and 2007. The bad election result in 2007 was quickly followed by a leadership battle between Fico and Špidla. He called on Špidla to resign due to the party's poor election result, and after hard pressure Špidla announced that he would not seek reelection as leader. On 17 November 2007, Fico was unanimously elected new leader at the party's congress.

The 2010 federal election saw a increase of support Social Democrats as they won with 22.09% of the votes. However, the right-wing government of Miroslav Kalousek of the Republican Party was able to maintain his majority with the Support of the liberal Free Democrats. Consequently, Fico conceded defeat, but over the next three years the Social Democrats worked on winning over the christian democratic Slovak People's Party and the Czechoslovak People's Party. On 24 March 2013, after four failed earlier attempts, the opposition comprising the Social Democrats, the National Social Party and the Communist Party succeeded in leading the Chamber of Deputies to a no confidence vote in Kalousek's government over the issue of austerity measures. The measure passed with 156 votes to 144 as twelve members of Kalousek's coalition (7 from the Slovak People's Party and 5 from the Czechoslovak People's Party) voting with the opposition.

Premiership

In the 2013 federal elections the Social Democrats won the election, gaining 27.07% of votes. Fico was appointed as Prime Minister on 24 June 2013 by President Karel Schwarzenberg. He formed a coalition government with the social liberal Czechoslovak National Social Party (ČSNS) and the christian democratic Czechoslovak People's Party (ČSL) and the Slovak People's Party (SĽS).

Domestic policy

In 2014 Fico introduced a new "Labour Code", which granted entitlement to a lay-off notice period as well as severance pay, reduced overtime, making layoffs more expensive for employers, shorter temporary work contracts and more power for trade unions. In addition, it curbed the ‘chaining’ of fixed-term employment contracts, whereby currently it is possible to extend a fixed-term employment contract three times over three years.

Foreign policy

Cabinet members

Portfolio Name Party Assumed office Left office
Prime Minister Robert Fico Czechoslovak Social Democrats (ČSD) 24 June 2013 Incumbent
Deputy Prime Minister Jiří Paroubek Czechoslovak National Social Party (ČSNS) 24 June 2013 Incumbent
Foreign Minister Jiří Dienstbier Jr. Czechoslovak Social Democrats (ČSD) 24 June 2013 Incumbent
Federal Minister of Defence Miroslav Lajčák Czechoslovak Social Democrats (ČSD) 24 June 2013 Incumbent
Federal Minister of Finance Bohuslav Sobotka Czechoslovak Social Democrats (ČSD) 24 June 2013 Incumbent
Federal Minister of Foreign Trade Ľubomír Vážny Czechoslovak Social Democrats (ČSD) 24 June 2013 Incumbent
Federal Minister of the Justice Jiří Paroubek Czechoslovak National Social Party (ČSNS) 24 June 2013 Incumbent
Federal Minister of the Interior Stanislav Gross Czechoslovak Social Democrats (ČSD) 24 June 2013 8 August 2014
Robert Kaliňák 8 August 2014 Incumbent
Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Michaela Marksová Czechoslovak Social Democrats (ČSD) 24 June 2013 Incumbent
Federal Minister of Health Czechoslovak Social Democrats (ČSD) 24 June 2013 Incumbent
Federal Minister of Education and Research Czechoslovak National Social Party (ČSNS) 24 June 2013 Incumbent
Federal Minister of Transportation and Communication Czechoslovak National Social Party (ČSNS) 24 June 2013 Incumbent
Federal Minister of Agriculture Robert Kaliňák Czechoslovak Social Democrats (ČSD) 24 June 2013 8 August 2014
Kateřina Valachová 8 August 2014 Incumbent
Federal Minister of the Environment Ondřej Liška Green Party (SZ) 24 June 2013 Incumbent

Personal life

Fico is married to Svetlana Ficová (née Svobodová), a lawyer and associate professor from Zilina. They were classmates while both were studying law at the Comenius University in Bratislava, and they married in 1988. They have one son together, Michal, who is currently enrolled at the University of Economics in Bratislava. In addition to his native Slovak, Fico speaks fluent Czech, English and Russian.

See also

Government offices
Preceded by:
Miroslav Kalousek
Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia
2013–present
Succeeded by:
Incumbent
Preceded by:
Vlasta Parkanová
Federal Minister of Labour
2003–2007
Succeeded by:
Jiří Pospíšil
Preceded by:
Jozef Liščák
Slovak Minister of Justice
1998–2000
Succeeded by:
Daniel Lipšic
Party political offices
Preceded by:
Vladimír Špidla
Chairman of the Czechoslovak Social Democracy
2007–present
Succeeded by:
Incumbent


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