Ultimate magazine theme for WordPress.

Czech president ready to appoint rightwing coalition’s leader as PM

0 9

The president of the Czech Republic has said he is prepared to appoint Petr Fiala as prime minister a month after the opposition leader’s rightwing Together coalition won the country’s parliamentary election.

Milos Zeman, who according to the Czech constitution has the right to appoint the premier, was rushed to hospital on October 10, the day after the vote, leaving the process of forming a new government in limbo.

However, after being moved out of intensive care, Zeman on Friday gave an interview from hospital to Czech radio station Frekvence 1 in which he said he was feeling “completely normal” and that he expected to appoint the 57-year-old Fiala as prime minister.

Fiala welcomed the announcement, writing on Twitter: “The Czech Republic is in a difficult economic and epidemiological situation and needs a new government with a clear mandate”.

Before he was hospitalised with an undisclosed ailment, the 77-year-old Zeman had said that he would give the first chance to form a government to the leader of the biggest single party, rather than the biggest coalition.

That would have meant that billionaire incumbent Andrej Babis, who has led the Czech Republic for the last four years and become a close ally of Zeman, would have had the first shot.

However, the president acknowledged on Friday that Babis had no chance of cobbling together a majority as Fiala’s Together and a second coalition of the Pirate party and Mayors and Independents had already agreed to an alliance which would command 108 of parliament’s 200 seats.

“There are still a few steps that have to be taken towards [appointing Fiala as prime minister],” Zeman said. “But I think that there will be no problem there. Because Andrej Babis, with whom I spoke by telephone a little while ago, is not interested in becoming prime minister. The reason is quite simple: no one wants to deal with him.”

Babis confirmed on Friday that he was prepared to step down. The new parliament is due to meet for the first time on Monday.

Asked about his health, Zeman, who suffers from diabetes and has trouble walking, said he was feeling better than usual as he had “not smoked for a month” and expected to see out his term. However, the head of a group of doctors treating him said the president was not yet “fully” able to carry out his duties and that his prognosis was uncertain.

Fiala’s three-party Together coalition and the centrist Mayors/Pirates said on Tuesday night that they had struck an agreement on their priorities for government as well as on the allocation of key posts.

Among the most immediate challenges facing the new administration is the latest wave of the pandemic, which has accelerated in recent weeks. Both infections and hospitalisations due to Covid-19 are rising rapidly, although they still remain well below the peaks recorded earlier this year.

The government will also have to contend with a variety of economic problems ranging from surging inflation, which hit 4.9 per cent in September, to gathering pressure on the energy sector, which is struggling with the fallout from rocketing gas prices.

Fiala and his allies have already said they plan to cut the government deficit, which has been blown out by the pandemic and a combination of benefit increases and tax cuts pushed through by Babis, to a maximum of 3 per cent of national output. It stood at 5.6 per cent last year and the outgoing government is forecasting that it will be 7.7 per cent this year.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.