Czech president Zeman in hospital day after election

Czech president Milos Zeman has been rushed to hospital the day after the parliamentary election and at a time when he has a key role in establishing a new government.

rague’s military hospital confirmed that Mr Zeman was taken there from the presidential chateau in Lany, near Prague.

Mr Zeman’s doctor, who recommended he be hospitalised, is expected to give details of the president’s condition later on Sunday.


Milos Zeman is admitted to hospital in Prague (Petr David Josek/AP)

The president was admitted to hospital last month, on September 14, for what his office later described as a planned examination.

It said CT scans, sonography checks and blood tests carried out by doctors had not revealed any problems or disease that would threaten his life.

The office said the president was dehydrated and slightly exhausted.

He spent four days in the same hospital in 2019 for similar reasons.

Mr Zeman, 77, is a heavy smoker who has suffered from diabetes and neuropathy linked to it. He has trouble walking and has been using a wheelchair.


Mr Zeman (Petr David Josek/AP)

The Czech presidency is a largely ceremonial post but the president has the right to choose the country’s new prime minister.

Earlier on Sunday, Mr Zeman met in Lany with his close ally prime minister Andrej Babis.

On Saturday, the centrist ANO movement led by Mr Babis, a populist billionaire, narrowly lost the Czech Republic’s parliamentary election in a surprise development that could mean the end of the Eurosceptic leader’s reign.

Together, a liberal-conservative three-party coalition captured 27.8% of the vote, beating Mr Babis’ ANO (Yes) which won 27.1%.

In a second blow to the populists, another centre-left liberal coalition received 15.6% of the vote to finish third.

The winning coalition won 71 seats while its partner took 37 seats to secure a comfortable majority of 108 seats in the 200-seat lower house of parliament.

Mr Babis won 72 seats, six less than in the 2017 election.

In a development which further weakened 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 to leave the EU, finished fourth with 9.6% support, or 20 seats, less than the 22 seats it won in 2017.

The coalitions immediately announced they would sign a memorandum about their will to rule together.

But Mr Zeman indicated he would first appoint the leader of the strongest party, not the coalition, to try to form the government.

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