An official said Monday that health issues were preventing Czech President Milos Zeman from carrying out his duties.
Milos Vystrcil, the speaker of the Czech Senate, stated that a letter he received from the Prague military hospital where Zeman is being treated stated that the 77-year-old president is unable to work.
According to the hospital’s director, Miroslav Zavoral, Zeman is unable to perform “any working duties due to health reasons,” and his long-term prognosis is “very uncertain.” It stated that Zeman’s return to duty in the coming weeks is “very unlikely.”
On Oct. 10, a day after the election for the lower house of parliament, Zeman was rushed to the Czech capital’s military hospital.
The hospital previously stated that Zeman was in an intensive care unit and was in stable condition, but no further information about his current health situation was available.
Zeman’s wife said last week that he needs time to recover, amid concerns that his condition will jeopardize efforts to form a new government.
“I can only confirm that he has been undergoing time-consuming treatment,” Ivana Zemanova said. “I’d like to ask for your patience and the time he requires to regain his strength.” Zeman is a heavy smoker and alcoholic who has diabetes. He has difficulty walking and relies on a wheelchair.
Zeman, as president, will play a critical role in forming a new government. Despite the fact that the office is largely ceremonial, the Czech president is responsible for appointing a party leader to form a government following a parliamentary election.
If Zeman is unable to act due to illness or other reasons, the prime minister and the speakers of both houses of parliament will assume his presidency. If that occurs, the premier will be chosen by the new speaker of the lower house. The new house will convene for the first time on November 8 to elect the speaker and other officials.
Vystrcil stated that Senate representatives will meet with the leaders of the lower house parties on Tuesday to discuss the temporary transfer of presidential powers.
To make the transfer happen, a majority of lawmakers from both houses of parliament must be present. Regardless, Zeman would remain president.
The president’s spokesman, Jiri Ovcacek, previously stated that Zeman’s current hospitalization does not jeopardize the country’s post-election negotiations or his constitutional duties. Zeman had previously been admitted to the hospital on September 14 for what his office later described as a planned examination. According to the White House, the president was only slightly dehydrated and exhausted. Zeman was released from the hospital after eight days. In 2019, he spent four days in the same hospital for similar reasons.
Together, a liberal-conservative three-party coalition, received 27.8 percent of the vote on Saturday, defeating Prime Minister Andrej Babis’ ANO (YES) party, which received 27.1 percent. To finish third, a center-left liberal coalition received 15.6 percent of the vote.
The two coalitions have agreed to govern together. They are more in line with the European Union’s mainstream than Euroskeptic Babis. Together, they won 71 of the 200 seats in parliament’s lower house, while the center-left alliance won 37, giving their government a comfortable 108-seat majority.
Babis’ ANO won 72 seats, six fewer than in the previous election. Despite Zeman’s offer to form a government, he stated that he was prepared to be in opposition. They are close friends.