Czech senate commission convened over hospitalized president and next steps

The president's most important task for the immediate future is to entrust the winner of this weekend's general election with forming a new government.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 11.10.2021 17:13:00 (updated on 11.10.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague, Oct 11 (ČTK) -The upper house constitutional commission will meet on October 19 over concerns surrounding the uncertain health condition and hospitalization of Czech president Miloš Zeman, its head Zdeněk Hraba (Mayors and Independents, STAN) said on Twitter today.

"I summoned the constitutional commission of the Senate to deal with the possibilities among which is article 66 of the Constitution -- pronouncing the president incapable of performing his office," Hraba tweeted.

Hraba said it was necessary to avert the threat to the operation of constitutional institutions if Zeman were unable to perform his office due to his failing health.

The president's most important task for the immediate future is to entrust the winner of this weekend's general election with forming a new government.

On Sunday, Senate chairman Miloš Vystrčil (Civic Democrats, ODS) repeatedly called on the Presidential Office to release more information on the president’s health condition.

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On Sunday afternoon, Zeman was unexpectedly transported to the Central Military Hospital (UVN) in Prague, shortly after he had a planned meeting with Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO).

UVN director Miroslav Zavoral, who is Zeman’s doctor, said the hospitalization was required due to complications related to chronic illness. Zeman, aged 77, is in an intensive care unit of the UVN.

The Senate commission already addressed a proposal earlier this year that said Zeman is not capable of performing his post.

In June, the upper house defense and security committee and its chairman Pavel Fischer (unaffiliated) claimed that Zeman’s statements over the previous months, including, those related to the Vrbětice case, demonstrated that the president was disoriented, misquoting the Constitution, and interpreting reality in a way that mixed up "the consequence with the cause."

The Senate constitutional commission did not support the proposal and said the materials submitted to prove this was insufficient.

If both houses of parliament agree that the president cannot perform his office for serious reasons, the Constitution enables the removal of presidential powers.

In such a case, the presidential powers will go to the prime minister and the lower house head. If the lower house is dissolved, the presidential powers go to the upper house head. The mandate of the outgoing lower house will expire on October 21. The new Chamber of Deputies is set to meet in the first half of November.

Earlier today Jitka Zinke, the spokeswoman for UVN said the president was in stable condition but did not elaborate further. Zinke later said in a press release that a team of health professionals specialized in intensive care was looking after the president and that his treatment plan is being set by hospital medical staff comprised of specialists in Zeman's particular area of health troubles.

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