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Czech President hospitalized; It can affect the formation of a new government


Czech President Milos Zeman was taken to hospital on Sunday, a day after parliamentary elections in the country where Prime Minister Andrzej Babis’s party surprisingly came in second and Zeman played a key role in forming a new government.

The Czech presidency is basically formal but any political leader elected by the president can try to form the next government. Earlier on Sunday, Zeman met with his close aide Babis, but the prime minister made no comment as he left the president’s residence in Lani, near Prague.

On Saturday, the central ANO (Yes) party, led by populist billionaire Babis, narrowly lost the Czech Republic election, which could end the Eurosceptic leader’s rule in the European Union state of 10.7 million people.

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The President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman was admitted to a military hospital in Prague on Sunday, October 10, 2021. (AP Photo / Petro David Josek)

A liberal-conservative tripartite coalition together garnered 27.8% of the vote, defeating Babis ’ANO, which won 27.1%. In the second push for the populists, another center-left liberal coalition came in third with 15.6%.

The winning coalition won 1 seat and its third-place partner won 37 seats and secured a comfortable majority of 108 seats in the 200-seat lower house of parliament and they pledged to work together. Babis’ party has won two seats, six less in the 2017 election.

But Zeman had previously indicated that he would first appoint the leader of the strongest party, not the strongest coalition, to try to form a government. This will allow Babis to find a majority for his potential new government.

If he fails, as expected, and his last government does not win a mandatory confidence vote at home, Zeman may ask him to try to form a new government again.

This has happened before. With no deadline for the president to step in, the country faced long-term political instability from the October 2017 elections until July of the following year, when Babis’ second cabinet finally won a vote of confidence.

“It would be no surprise if the months following the election are not a defeat for Babis,” said Pete Just, an analyst at Metropolitan University Prague.

But unlike 2017, this latest election has created a clear winner. Peter Fayala, together with the leader and its prime ministerial candidate, called on Zaman to accept the election results.

“The opposition has gained a clear majority in the lower house,” Fayala said. “The constitution clearly states that a government needs the support of the majority. We will see what action President Zeman takes but it is essential that he cannot ignore it.”

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In his only post-election remarks, Zeman congratulated the election winners and all elected members of parliament.

If Zeman is unable to work due to his illness or other reasons, the Prime Minister and the Speaker of both Houses of Parliament will assume the powers of his President. If so, the new speaker in the lower house chooses Premier. Parliament must convene within 300 days of the election to elect the Speaker and other officials.

In other elections, the Czech Republic’s anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim force, the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party, which wants to leave the EU, is in fourth place with .6 %% support or 20 seats. To another surprise, both the Social Democrats and the Communists, the country’s traditional conservative parliamentary party, failed to win seats in parliament for the first time since Czechoslovakia’s partition in 1993.

The Military Hospital in Prague confirmed that Zeman was sent there on Sunday. Zeman, 77, is a heavy smoker and drinker who suffers from diabetes. She has trouble walking and uses a wheelchair.

“The reason for his hospitalization is the complications with the chronic disease that we treat him here,” said Dr Miroslav Zavoral, director of the clinic. He declined to give details.

Presidential spokesman Jiri Ovakasek later said the country’s election in his current hospital does not threaten post-election negotiations and his constitutional responsibilities. He said Zeman has asked to get media monitoring on a daily basis.

Zeman had previously been admitted to his office on 1 Sep, which he later described as a planned test. The president is simply dehydrated and a little tired, the office said. Zeman was released eight days later, his longest hospital stay.

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For the same reason he spent four days in the same hospital in 2019.



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