Covid-positive Czech president swears in new PM from glass box

29 November 2021, 06:15

Milos Zeman formalised the appointment from a transparent box
Milos Zeman formalised the appointment from a transparent box. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

The Czech president has sworn in the country's new prime minister from a glass box after testing positive for Covid-19.

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Milos Zeman tested positive for coronavirus last week and must isolate.

He was separated from Petr Fiala, who won last month's parliamentary election, and officials by a cube of transparent panels during the ceremony at the presidential chateau in Lany, west of Prague.

Mr Zeman wished Mr Fiala "success".

The president was wheeled in by an individual in full PPE
The president was wheeled in by an individual in full PPE. Picture: Alamy

Mr Zeman, 77, was only discharged from the capital's military hospital on Saturday following more than a month's treatment for an unspecified illness and a couple of days of concern after he tested positive for Covid-19.

The ceremony had originally been due to take place on Friday.

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He was rushed to hospital on October 10, a day after the election for the lower house of parliament, and was treated in an intensive care unit.

His condition was attributed to an unspecified chronic disease.

Attendees also maintained distance from one another
Attendees also maintained distance from one another. Picture: Alamy

Following the vote on October 8-9, a three-party, liberal-conservative coalition known as Together, comprised of the Civic Democratic Party, Christian Democrats and the Top 09 party, led with a 27.8 per cent share of the vote.

Together teamed up with a centre-left liberal coalition made up of the Pirate Party and Stan - a group of mayors and independent candidates - which came in third place with 15.6 per cent of the votes.

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The new partnership will hold 108 seats in the 200-seat lower house of Parliament, relegating populist Prime Minister Andrej Babis and his centrist ANO (Yes) movement to the opposition.

The five parties in the future governing coalition have agreed on a power-sharing deal.

They are closer to the European Union than Eurosceptic Mr Babis.

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Mr Fiala, 57, who has led the conservative Civic Democratic Party since 2014, is a professor of political sciences.

He previously served as education minister from 2012-13.

It was not immediately clear when Mr Zeman might appoint the Cabinet.

He said he will meet ministerial candidates between Monday and December 13 to discuss their future jobs.

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