President Zeman prepared to name Fiala as next PM

A regularly updated article with all the latest developments related to the political transition in the Czech Republic.

William Nattrass

Written by William Nattrass Published on 01.11.2021 15:27:00 (updated on 05.11.2021) Reading time: 7 minutes

This is a weekly overview of the latest political news in the Czech Republic. Here you’ll find all the most important developments, keeping you informed on the biggest political stories of the day, brought to you by the editorial team.

November 7, 2021

government Incoming coalition not expected to change ministerial proposals

Zbyněk Stanjura, a candidate to become the Czech Republic's next finance minister, does not expect the new government coalition to change its proposals for ministers due to President Miloš Zeman's negative opinion of some of them, Stanjura said on Czech TV today. Incoming PM and ODS chairman Petr Fiala would not accept such demands from the president, Stanjura added.

"I am convinced that Petr Fiala, as the future prime minister, will stand by his proposal and he will defend and push it through," Stanjura stressed. There have been speculations that the president may object to the potential candidate for foreign minister, Jan Lipavský from the Pirate Party.

November 6, 2021

FIALA Incoming PM discusses call with President Zeman

President Miloš Zeman will accept the resignation of the current government of PM Andrej Babiš, incoming PM candidate Petr Fiala said after a video conference with Zeman this afternoon.

Fiala, leader of the election-winning coalition Together, said he would contact Zeman following the resignation of the current government and submit a list of proposed members of his cabinet during his next discussion with the president.

Fiala added that he did not discuss his cabinet candidates with Zeman today, as they were not available at the moment. He noted that Zeman would like to meet some of the candidates for ministerial positions before accepting them.

"The president of the republic and the ODS chairman have agreed on their future cooperation. They both have welcomed the offer for regular meetings and talks," said Zeman's spokesperson Jiří Ovčáček.

November 5, 2021

Transition Zeman ready to appoint Fiala as the next Czech PM

President Miloš Zeman told Frekvence 1 radio today that he is prepared to appoint Civic Democrat (ODS) head Petr Fiala as the new PM now that the outgoing PM Andrej Babiš (ANO) does not seek the post. He said he will do everything he can to transition the new cabinet as quickly as possible.

This is the president's first public remarks since September 1, when he spoke at a new school year opening ceremony in Brno. His interview with Frekvence 1 is his first media interview since August 22, when the server spoke to him.

Zeman, 77, who has been in Prague's Central Military Hospital (UVN) since October 10, said he feels quite normal and has not been smoking for a month now.

He said that during the October 8-9 general election, he was surprised by the failure of the Pirates, which was more extreme than what he had expected. Zeman said he has studied the agenda of all the political parties and liked the ODS's program, and criticized that of the Greens.

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

In reaction to speculation that the Oct. 21 video of the president signing the decision to convoke the new Chamber of Deputies for November was staged, he said the signature was authentic.

The president's health condition still requires hospitalization and he cannot fully execute his duties, the medical council charged with assessing his health told reporters today.

November 4, 2021

Zeman President leaves intensive care for regular hospital room

Visits to Czech President Miloš Zeman are still banned due to anti-Covid measures in place at Prague Central Military Hospital (ÚVN). The prevention of visits from prospective Prime Minister Petr Fiala and outgoing PM Andrej Babiš throws the formation of a new government further into doubt. Zeman's move out of intensive care may also put a halt to attempts to strip him of his presidential powers, another major twist in the post-election political environment.

Babiš informed media that he had been schedule to meet Zeman on Friday but that he was informed the visit would not be allowed. Fiala is also expecting to meet Zeman, although no date for that meeting had yet been agreed.

The President has been in intensive care since October 10. The hospital said his condition has finally improved due to complex nutritional support to combat complications in his chronic health problems. On October 22 doctors said Zeman's condition had slightly improved, but otherwise updates on his health have been scarce.

November 3, 2021

Policy Euro will not be adopted by incoming government

The incoming government coalition has announced that it does not plan to bring the euro to the Czech Republic during the forthcoming parliamentary term. Members of the coalition say the Czech Republic does not yet meet conditions for the adoption of the euro, and that changing currency in the next four years would not be advantageous for the country.

“Public finances are in such a state that we do not meet the conditions for entry into the eurozone. We have to adopt the euro when it would be advantageous for the Czech Republic, and this is not yet the case,” said Civic Democrats (ODS) deputy chairman Zbyněk Stanjura.

Election Coalition reaches agreement on formation of new Czech government

The incoming coalition government comprising the SPOLU and Pirates+STAN groups has agreed on the makeup and policy program of the new government, prospective Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala announced.

The new cabinet will include 18 members, compared to the 15 members of the outgoing ANO and Social Democrat cabinet. This is because the new cabinet will also include new ministerial posts for legislation, the EU and science and research.

The SPOLU group will take over the ministries of finance, defense, labor, transport, health, justice, agriculture, environment, culture and science. The Pirates+STAN group will be assigned the ministries of the interior and foreign affairs, regional development, education, industry and the newly created posts for legislation and the EU.

Zeman President agrees to meet Fiala regarding new government

Czech President Miloš Zeman has agreed to meet SPOLU leader and prospective Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) as soon as he is moved out of intensive care to a regular hospital room, Fiala announced. Presidential Office chief Vratislav Mynář meanwhile said the President is looking forward to meeting Fiala. It was revealed on Monday that Prague’s Central Military Hospital is considering moving Zeman out of intensive care, but no specific timeframe has been decided yet.

November 1, 2021

Climate and energy take center stage

Outgoing Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is representing the Czech Republic at COP26, a major international climate change summit. The international gathering in Glasgow, Scotland, is being described as a last chance for world leaders to commit to meaningful action against climate change.

COP26 will be one of Babiš’s final international engagements as Czech Prime Minister. Babiš is a strong advocate of nuclear energy as a replacement for fossil fuel energies. He is, in equal measure, a stern critic of the European Union’s plans for cutting carbon emissions through measures such as the proposed ban on the sale of combustion engine vehicles.

Babiš has claimed the EU steps to combat climate change are contributing to a rapid rise in energy prices which has recently caused serious problems for European energy providers. Major Czech provider Bohemia Energy, which went bankrupt in mid-October, blamed Europe-wide wholesale energy prices for its financial problems. But in a video posted on Facebook on Sunday, Babiš said that the government would lodge a criminal complaint against Bohemia Energy over suspected fraudulent behavior.

Mystery continues over state of President’s health

No further news has emerged about the state of President Miloš Zeman’s health since Prague’s Central Military Hospital (ÚVN) said his condition had slightly improved last weekend. A new medical council is reportedly being convened to discuss Zeman’s condition, including the nation’s leading surgeons and physicians. The Czech Senate previously said it will ask the ÚVN for further information about the President’s ability to carry out his duties ahead of a session to discuss a possible transfer of powers on November 9.

Incoming coalition government takes shape despite disputes

Petr Fiala (ODS), the prospective Czech Prime Minister at the head of the incoming opposition coalition comprising the SPOLU and Pirates+STAN election groups, said the coalition members have reached agreement on a large majority of program points, as well establishing a 28-member taskforce to tackle the growing Covid pandemic in the Czech Republic. Fiala said it is still too early to provide details about the specific line-up of the government, including the allocation of ministries to government coalition members.

Agreement on the program of the new government comes as rifts start to emerge in the Pirates+STAN electoral group. The Pirates suffered a humiliation during the election because a large majority of preferential votes were given to their less-well-known electoral partners, leaving STAN with 33 MPs but the Pirates with only 4. An internal analysis by the Pirates obtained by media earlier this week claimed STAN broke the rules of their electoral coalition with the Pirates.

Politicians’ wages to rise

Politicians’ salaries should rise by 6 percent next year after the Senate, the upper house of the Czech Parliament, rejected a proposal to freeze salaries for the next five years. Senators dismissed the proposal as a populist pre-election gesture on the part of the current government. Having been rejected by the Senate, the incoming lower house of parliament cannot overturn the decision. Outgoing PM Andrej Babiš said the decision to reject the salary freeze was “outrageous” and an early example of the kind of greed the public can expect from the incoming coalition government.

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