President accepts formal resignation of Babiš's government

This week in Czech politics, Nov. 8–12: Everything you need to know about Czech politics, updated weekly.

William Nattrass

Written by William Nattrass Published on 08.11.2021 13:02:00 (updated on 11.11.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

November 11

Babiš’s government officially resigns

Outgoing Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has announced that the resignation of his ANO and ČSSD government has been officially approved. Babiš sent a letter declaring the intent of the government to resign to the hospitalized Czech President Miloš Zeman, which was acknowledged by the Presidential Office at 08:30.

The constitutional step allowing the formation of the next government was made after the first session of the new lower house of parliament a month after the general election was held on October 8-9. Opposition parties have already agreed on establishing a coalition to take Babiš out of power.

TOP 09 leader confirmed as new House Speaker

The lower house of the Czech parliament has elected Markéta Pekarová Adamová, the head of the TOP 09 party in the SPOLU coalition, as its new Speaker. She is the second woman to ever take on the role. She will be supported by six vice-presidents of the Chamber, five of whom have already been appointed.

Pekarová Adamová has long focused on societal issues and helping the disadvantaged. As well as being the second woman to take on the role of Speaker of the House, she is also the second youngest, at the age of 37. The five vice-presidents already appointed to support her in the leadership of the Chamber represent each of the main parties elected in October, with the exception of the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) party.

November 9

Zeman formally entrusts Fiala with formation of new government

Czech President Miloš Zeman has formally granted permission for Petr Fiala (ODS) to lead government-forming negotiations. Fiala leads an opposition coalition which has already signed an agreement on the formation of the next Czech government.

After receiving the official assignment from Zeman, Fiala said negotiations would continue in the coming days to thrash out remaining details of the new regime. "Negotiations with coalition partners on the definitive form of the government will continue in the coming days," he wrote on Twitter.

"I expect you to inform me about the results of your negotiations so that I can decide on my next constitutional steps," Zeman told Fiala.

Zeman is being fed through a tube

President Zeman is being fed through a stomach tube and may continue to live in this way for many months. Czech Gastroenterological Society head Ondřej Urban said this situation should not stop Zeman leading a relatively normal life and carrying out his duties, though.

The tube is used to help patients who are not able to eat their required amount of food. Patients eat normally but are also administered additional nutritional supplements to make sure they get all the nourishment they need.

November 8

Government coalition agreement formally signed

The prospective new coalition administration has formally signed an agreement on the formation of a government to take over from Andrej Babiš’s ANO-led government. The agreement also laid out the allocation of ministries to individual parties under the new coalition. Coalition leader Petr Fiala (ODS) urged speed in the formation of the new government, saying “it is necessary to proceed quickly and bring the Republic out of its health and economic crisis.” On Sunday, the Pirate Party's national leadership committee unanimously backed the coalition agreement, despite the Pirates' disappointing result in the general election held on October 8-9.

New Czech Parliament meets for the first time

The newly elected lower house of the Czech Parliament is meeting for the first time today following the election victory of the opposition coalitions SPOLU and Pirates+STAN. The opposition parties won a majority of 108 seats out of 200 in the new parliament. On the agenda at the first meeting of the new parliament is the election of a Speaker of the House. The favorite for the role is TOP 09 leader Markéta Pekarová Adamová, one of the most important figures in the incoming coalition government.

Zeman meets Fiala on the formation of the new government

Incoming coalition leader and prospective Prime Minister Petr Fiala met with ill Czech President Miloš Zeman through an online video call to discuss the formation of the new government. He said Zeman has no problem with the formation of the new government. Fiala also stated that Zeman appeared to be his usual self and is fully aware of his responsibilities in the coming period. It is expected that Zeman will accept the resignation of the incumbent ANO government led by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš soon after the inaugural session of the new parliament. Zeman said the formation of the next government should be simple, because Babiš has already said he will not attempt to continue as Prime Minister.

Zeman’s future remains uncertain

The political future of President Miloš Zeman remains uncertain, as his sudden reemergence in a radio interview this Saturday has complicated attempts to strip him of presidential powers. The Czech Senate had previously said it would debate the transfer of powers under Article 66 of the Czech constitution after consultation with doctors when the new lower house of parliament is convened. But Zeman’s transferal out of intensive care and his public speech on the change in the government have made the removal of his powers seem less likely. 

Discussions over Turów mine continuing with urgency

Talks are ongoing between Anna Moskwa, Poland’s Climate Minister, and the Czech government over the Turów coal mine controversy on the Polish-Czech border. Moskwa visited Prague on Friday for discussions, and talks are now continuing over the phone, a Czech Environment Ministry spokesperson confirmed. Poland’s refusal to shut Turów mine as ordered by the EU has caused fury from local Czech residents who complain that the mine is damaging quality of life in the local area. Moskwa said negotiations are promising, focusing on clarifying compensation and technical steps to safeguard the environment around the mine.

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