President Zeman In Intensive Care At Crucial Post-Election Moment

Czech President Milos Zeman was transported to Prague’s Central Military Hospital yesterday, shortly after meeting with Prime Minister Andrej Babis to discuss the weekend’s election. Images were published in the Czech media of Zemen being wheeled into the hospital, accompanied by his wife and daughter. Credit

Czech Rep, Oct 11 (BD) – According to hospital director Miroslav Zavoral, speaking to journalists later, Zeman was being treated in the intensive care unit for “complications that accompany a chronic illness”, though the nature of the illness was not disclosed. 

Zeman’s health has been the subject of discussion for some time, but his current hospitalisation comes at a particularly delicate moment for the Czech Republic, as parties jostle for position after a very close election, and Zeman must decide who to appoint to form a government. The two electoral alliances opposed to Babis, centre-right SPOLU and the liberal Pirates and Mayors, have a majority of seats between them, and have already expressed their intention to form a government, but Zeman has long maintained that he would appoint the leader of the largest single party to form a government first, which would be Babis. However, with no obvious coalition partners, Babis’s only remaining hope to retain power is to split one of the members of SPOLU away from the alliance and towards ANO. The incapacitation of President Zeman, a close ally of Babis, would complicate this plan.

Some have called for parliament to enact a constitutional clause that would declare Zeman unfit for office and pass his powers to appoint a prime minister temporarily to the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Radek Vondráček (ANO). Vondráček would then have the responsibility of choosing who to ask to form a new government. The opposition is expected to vote for a new speaker when the newly elected parliament is inaugurated later this month.

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