The photo shows a president in a bathrobe and a very likely future prime minister in a suit and tie. The two wear a mask as the Covid-19 epidemic rages in the Czech Republic. Wednesday November 17, it is at the Central Military Hospital in Prague where he has been hospitalized since October 10 for a ” chronic disease “ that the Czech President, Milos Zeman, met for the first time Petr Fiala, the winner of the legislative elections organized in early October in this central European country. At the end of the meeting, Mr. Zeman’s spokesperson tweeted that the latter “Planned to appoint Mr. Fiala prime minister on Friday 26 November”.
After weeks of speculation about the state of health and the potentially delaying maneuvers of the head of state with pro-Russian and pro-Chinese convictions, Mr. Fiala, a 57-year-old conservative, should therefore become the next head of government of this country of 10.7 million inhabitants ruled over the past four years by billionaire with sovereignist accents Andrej Babis. “We could have a government within three weeks”, said Fiala, a university professor of political science, upon discharge from the hospital.
With his distance and his serious tone, the future prime minister contrasts considerably with his predecessor, a follower of social networks and disjointed remarks. In recent weeks, he has rushed into a coalition agreement with four parties from the right and the center. Since 2014 he himself has headed the Civic Democratic Platform (ODS), the great formation of the Czech right. In this party with the Eurosceptic tradition, he embodies a more moderate wing and defends a rapprochement with Brussels. The coalition will also bring together firmly pro-European parties such as TOP 09 or the Pirate Party, which will be the first of its kind to be part of a government in Europe.
“Objections” from the president
It is also a member of their formation, Jan Lipavsky, a man known to denounce the presence of Chinese and Russian interests in the country, which is expected to inherit the post of foreign minister. The Czech Republic has been the scene of several spy operations and influence from both powers in recent years. His appointment, however, depends in part on Mr. Zeman’s goodwill. However, the president has already announced “Objections” on one of the names of this team, most likely that of Mr. Lipavsky. What foreshadows a standoff when the Czech president has real blocking powers and he must be released from the hospital in the coming days.
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