Recovering Czech leader to tap election winner as PM
Czech President Milos Zeman said Friday he would tap Petr Fiala, head of the centre-right Together alliance which won a general election last month, to form the next government.
Zeman, who was taken to hospital on October 10, a day after the vote, had so far favoured billionaire Prime Minister Andrej Babis, his ally, whose populist ANO movement came narrowly second.
“It won’t be a problem because Andrej Babis, with whom I have just talked on the phone, is not interested in being the prime minister,” Zeman said on the Frekvence 1 radio station.
“The reason is simple — nobody wants to negotiate with him,” the 77-year-old president added in his first public interview in months.
Together, comprising three centrist and right-wing parties, has formed a coalition with another centrist alliance of two parties for a majority of 108 votes in the 200-seat parliament.
The five parties expect to sign a coalition deal on Monday as the new parliament holds its constituent meeting.
Zeman was moved from intensive care to a standard room on Thursday after undergoing treatment following “an impaired intake of nutrients and liquids”, said Prague’s military university hospital.
He has been grappling with health issues since early September, with local media saying Zeman has serious liver problems owing to alcohol.
“It didn’t look too good when they took me to hospital,” said Zeman, who is using a wheelchair as of this year as a result of nerve damage in his legs caused by diabetes.
“The steps taken by the hospital have helped me get back to normal,” he added.
The Czech Republic, an EU member of 10.7 million people, is currently grappling with fast growth in Covid infections, as well as a steep rise in energy prices.
“I will do everything to help this new government take over as soon as possible,” Zeman said.