Czech weekend news in brief: top stories for October 10, 2021

Deputy Prime Minister Hamáček resigns after election loss, President Zeman to meet PM Babiš this morning, and more top headlines for this weekend.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 10.10.2021 09:25:00 (updated on 10.10.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

President Zeman to meet PM Babiš following election

Czech President Miloš Zeman will meet with Prime Minister and ANO chairman Andrej Babiš at the Lany manor near Prague at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, the president's spokesperson told CTK. The Presidential Office is also preparing a statement to be published on Sunday. The meeting between Zeman and Babis was originally scheduled for Sunday night, but it was uncertain due to the president's illness. Zeman cancelled his participation in the post-election Sunday debate on the CNN Prima News TV for his health condition as well.

Babiš's ANO party finished second in the legislative election according to the popular vote behind the winning coalition Together, made up of the Civic Democrats (ODS), Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) and TOP 09. Together, after forming an alliance with the Pirates and Mayors and Independents (STAN), will command a majority in the 200-seat lower house. However, Zeman repeatedly said before the elections that he would entrust the leader of the winning party, not of any coalition, with forming a government after the vote.

ANO to have majority of seats in Czech Chamber of Deputies

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš's ANO party will have 72 seats in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies after the general election held on Friday and Saturday. The coalition Together, comprised of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) and TOP 09, will have 71 seats, and the alliance of the Pirates and Mayors and Independents (STAN) will have 37.

The anti-EU Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) party gained 20 seats. The rest of the running parties did not overcome the 5 percent threshold to enter the Chamber of Deputies.

Deputy Prime Minister Hamáček resigns as ČSSD chairman after election loss

Deputy PM Jan Hamáček will resign as the chairman of the junior government Social Democrats (ČSSD) after his party failed to re-enter the Chamber of Deputies in the general election, he told reporters on Saturday evening. The ČSSD will not enter the lower house of Czech parliament for the first time in the independent Czech Republic's history. It won just 4.7 percent of the vote, below the 5-percent threshold to enter parliament in the general election.

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Hamáček intends to give up his post at a meeting of the party leadership scheduled for October 25, he said at ČSSD's seat in Prague. He wished the ČSSD would recover and return to the Chamber of Deputies in four years. "My successors will try to regain public trust," he said, thanking ČSSD's leadership team for its work. "I regret it, nevertheless, this is the decision of our citizens," he added.

Czech Republic reports 665 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, death toll exceeds 30,500

The Czech Republic's overall Covid-19 death toll has exceeded 30,500 and 665 new cases were reported on Saturday, the highest number on a weekend day since May 8, according to data published by the Health Ministry this morning. The number of deaths attributed to Covid-19 is on the rise, with 23 reported over the past week compared with 11 the week before.

Saturday's number of new cases is 20 percent higher than the previous Saturday. The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital dropped by 15 to 306 on Saturday, but is still about 30 percent higher than a week ago. The incidence rate, or the number of new infections per 100,000 people over the past week, has also been steadily rising.

Czech voter turnout highest since 1998

The turnout of voters in the Czech general election that was held on Friday and Saturday was 65.4 percent, data released on the Czech Statistical Office website volby.cz shows. There were about 5.37 million valid ballots, or 320,000 more than in the previous general election held four years ago. The data represents a calculation of votes cast in more than 99 percent of constituencies.

This has been the Czech Republic's third highest voter turnout for an election to the Chamber of Deputies. The highest was 96.8 percent in the elections to the Federal Assembly and the Czech National Council in 1990. Last autumn, the turnout in regional elections and the second round of the Senate elections, influenced by the coronavirus epidemic, were 37.9 percent and 16.7 percent, respectively.

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