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President’s hospitalization leaves Czech Republic in limbo

The hospitalization of the head of state Milos Zeman, the day after the general elections on Saturday 9 October, plunged the Czech Republic into uncertainty. According to the Constitution, it is indeed up to the President of the Republic to designate the Prime Minister, the new government to be formed within 30 days after the election. If, however, both chambers of the newly elected Parliament declared the President of the Republic unable to perform his duties, it would be up to the President of the Lower House to appoint a head of government.

Milos Zeman, 77, suffers from liver problems. Placed in intensive care, he could stay up to three weeks in the hospital. Its spokesperson, Jiri Ovcacek, assures us that this unprecedented situation will not stand in the way of post-election talks. It remains to be seen whether the head of state will choose to name his ally, the populist billionaire Andrej Babis, as he had suggested before the elections. The outgoing Prime Minister hopes to stay in power, despite his narrow defeat to the opposition alliance Ensemble (Spolu). To do that, he would have to poach opposition members.

The right-wing alliance Ensemble, led by Petr Fiala, would have a majority of 108 out of 200 seats in Parliament if it formed a larger coalition with the anti-system Pirate Party and the centrist Mayors and Independents movement ( Stan). The vote of the big cities tipped the result in his favor. Together, which brings together the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), the center-right TOP 09 party and the Christian Democratic Union, obtained 27.78% of the vote, just ahead of the populist movement Action of Discontented Citizens (ANO) d ‘Andrej Babis (27.14%). “We have a very strong mandate and no one can take this victory from us”, Ensemble leader Petr Fiala, 57, former professor of political science at Brno University, warned. “The president will have to take this into account. “

The outgoing Prime Minister had until then chaired a minority government with the Social Democrats, tacitly supported by the Communist Party which had ruled the former totalitarian Czechoslovakia from 1948 to 1989. However, for the first time since 1989, neither the Social Democrats , nor the Communists cross the 5% bar allowing a place in Parliament. Another party will sit there, however, the far-right and anti-Muslim movement Liberty and Direct Democracy (SPD), led by businessman Tomio Okamura, born in Tokyo, which obtained nearly 10% of the vote. and should be able to count on 20 elected officials. The turnout reached over 65%, compared to 60.84% ​​in the previous legislative elections in 2017.

Andrej Babis campaigned against “Brussels” by promising to protect the Czech Republic against illegal migrants and calling on Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to help. Accused of fraud against European subsidies and of conflict of interest between his roles as businessman and politician, he was implicated by the international investigation “Pandora Papers” for having financed the purchase of properties in the south of France, in 2009, with money from its offshore companies.


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