Czech President ready to appoint new Prime Minister

Petr Fiala will replace Andrej Babiš as the Czech Republic's Prime Minister, President Miloš Zeman said in his first statement to the media since August.


Written by ČTK Published on 06.11.2021 09:23:00 (updated on 06.11.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

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Czech President Miloš Zeman has told radio station Frekvence 1 that there will be no problem in appointing ODS head Petr Fiala as the Czech Republic's new PM, and that he will do everything in his power to allow a new cabinet to be formed as quickly as possible.

Zeman will talk to Fiala via video conference on Saturday. He said they will discuss the appointment of Fiala, leader of the three-party alliance SPOLU (Together), as prime minister.

"Several steps have to be taken by then. The [current] cabinet has to hand in their resignation following the Chamber of Deputies' constituent session," Zeman said.

"I think, nevertheless, that there will be no problem as Andrej Babiš, with whom I spoke by phone a while ago, is not interested in becoming prime minister. The reason is quite simple - no one wants to negotiate [on forming a cabinet] with him."

Babiš said he plans to hand his cabinet's resignation over to Zeman in writing immediately after the lower house's constituent session ends.

After Zeman and Babiš spoke by phone on Friday, Zeman's spokesperson Jiří Ovčáček tweeted that "the cabinet's resignation was discussed. The president and the prime minister agreed that they want to meet in person. They consider it more suitable than a phone call or a video conference."

Zeman's statements to Frekvence 1 radio today were his first to the public since September 1, when he spoke during a ceremony at the beginning of the new school year in Brno. It was his first media interview since August 22, when he spoke to Blesk.

Zeman, 77, has been hospitalized at Prague's Central Military Hospital since October 10. He said he feels quite normal, and even better than usual thanks to not being overwhelmed. He said he has not been smoking for the past month.

"My real condition is based on my lack of appetite and bad digestion. The steps taken here, in hospital, have resulted in my becoming quite normal, thank God," Zeman said.

Zeman said he would appoint the new cabinet at the presidential manor in Lány, west of Prague, and not at the usual venue of Prague Castle. He did not tell Frekvence 1 radio whether he would appoint the cabinet proposed by Fiala.

"On my part, I will do everything for the cabinet to arise as quickly as possible," he said.

Zeman told Frekvence 1 that for the rest of his term, which runs through March 2023, he will continue fulfilling his duties as president.

"Afterwards, I will retire as a happy pensioner. I hope my little house, a bungalow now under construction in Lány by sheer accident, will be completed by then," he added.

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