Czech president Milos Zeman taken to hospital

Czech president Miloš Zeman has been taken to Prague’s Central Military Hospital where he is being treated in intensive care, a hospital spokesperson has said

Joanna Taylor
Sunday 10 October 2021 14:45
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Czech president Miloš Zeman has been taken to hospital and is being treated in intensive care, a hospital spokesperson has said.

Mr Zeman was taken to Prague’s Central Military Hospital from the presidential chateau in Lany on the advice of his doctor, the spokesperson said. The hospital’s director has said that his diagnosis is known but will not be made public.

The 77-year-old was due to meet with prime minister Andrej Babis who failed to win a majority in yesterday’s parliamentary election. Although largely a ceremonial role, the Czech president appoints its PM.

A coalition made up of five opposition parties says it is poised to take over if Mr Babiš is unable to form a government.

Mr Babiš and Mr Zeman spoke shortly before the president was taken to hospital according to the AFP News Agency.

Mr Zeman appears to have suffered health issues in recent months.

The 77-year-old cancelled a live television interview scheduled for 10 October over health concerns.

He was admitted to hospital for eight days last month with his office saying he was suffering from dehydration and slight exhaustion.

The president also began using a wheelchair earlier this year owing to pains in his legs and has previously suffered from diabetes.

Mr Zeman was expected to give Mr Babiš the opportunity to form a government as the leader of the nation’s strongest party at their meeting.

The centrist prime minister’s ANO party won 72 seats: six fewer than in 2017’s election but more than any other individual party.

But even if he were to form a coalition to create a majority, he would have to win a parliamentary confidence vote for which he currently doesn’t have enough support.

Both of ANO’s current coalition partners, the Social Democrats and maverick Communists, failed to win any seats for the first time since the split of Czechoslovakia in 1993.

ANO’s surprise defeat could see a new coalition taking power. A five party alliance announced shortly after the election results that they had signed a memorandum of their will to govern together.

This alliance is made up of the Together coalition, which comprises of the Civic Democrats, Christian Democrats and Top 09, and a coalition between the Pirate Party and Stan party.

Mr Zeman stressed before the election that he would invite the strongest party, not the largest coalition, to form a government.

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