PRAGUE (AP) – Czech President Milos Zeman was rushed to hospital on Sunday, the day after the parliamentary elections, at a time when he is playing a key role in establishing a new government.
The Prague military hospital confirmed that Zeman was transported there from the presidential castle in Lany, near Prague. Zeman’s doctor, who recommended hospitalization, is expected to give details of his condition later on Sunday.
It’s a return to the hospital for the president after just a few weeks.
Zeman had already been admitted on September 14 for what his office later described as a planned exam. He said CT scans, ultrasound checks and blood tests performed by doctors did not reveal any life-threatening issues or illnesses.
The office said the president was only dehydrated and slightly exhausted.
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He spent four days in the same hospital in 2019 for similar reasons.
Zeman, 77, is a heavy smoker with a soft spot for a drink who has suffered from diabetes and related neuropathy. He has difficulty walking and uses a wheelchair.
The Czech presidency is a largely ceremonial position, but the president has the right to choose the country’s new prime minister.
Earlier on Sunday, Zeman met his close ally, Prime Minister Andrej Babis, in Lany. Babis made no comment as he left the castle.
On Saturday, the centrist movement ANO led by Populist billionaire Babis narrowly lost the parliamentary elections in the Czech Republic in a surprise development that could spell the end of the Eurosceptic leader’s reign.
Together, a Liberal-Conservative tripartite coalition won 27.8% of the vote, beating Babis’ ANO (Yes), which obtained 27.1%. In a second blow to the populists, another liberal center-left coalition won 15.6% of the vote to finish third.
The winning coalition took 71 seats while its partner took 37 seats to have a comfortable majority of 108 seats in the 200-seat lower house of parliament.
Babis won 72 seats, six fewer than in the 2017 elections.
Further weakening the country’s populists, the anti-migrant and anti-Muslim force in the Czech Republic, the Freedom and Direct Democracy party, which wants the country’s exit from the EU, finished fourth with 9.6% support, or 20 seats, less than the He won 22 seats in 2017.
The coalitions immediately announced that they were singing a memorandum on their willingness to govern together.
But Zeman said he would appoint the leader of the stronger party first, not the coalition, to try to form the government.
In his only comment, he congratulated the winner of the election and all elected lawmakers and wished them good luck.
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