Czech president taps Petr Fiala to lead new government

PRAGUE — Ailing Czech President Miloš Zeman on Tuesday asked the head of the SPOLU (Together) Coalition, Petr Fiala, to form a new government.

The mandate, made public via a press release from Zeman’s office, marked the beginning of the end of the controversial reign of outgoing Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.

Fiala immediately tweeted his response, writing: “I have accepted this mandate. In the coming days, I will continue negotiations with coalition partners on the final form of the government.” 

On Monday, the three-party SPOLU coalition signed an agreement with the Pirates-STAN partnership to form the new government. 

SPOLU won a surprise victory over Babiš’s ANO movement in last month’s general election. Once installed, the five-party government will have a comfortable majority of 108 MPs in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies.

Zeman’s directive put an end to a month of political uncertainty and confusion, caused by the president’s hospitalization in intensive care just a day after the elections and a lack of information from his doctors and advisers on his medical condition. 

CZECH REPUBLIC NATIONAL PARLIAMENT ELECTION POLL OF POLLS

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For more polling data from across Europe visit POLITICO Poll of Polls.

Preparations were made to strip the president of his constitutional duties to name the prospective incoming prime minister and formally accept his or her cabinet in case he was unable to carry them out because of his illness. However, the 77-year-old Zeman was moved out of intensive care last week and said that he would ask Fiala to negotiate the formation of a new government. 

The new cabinet, with the 57-year-old Fiala as prime minister, could take office by the end of this week. A former university rector, Fiala is regarded as a fiscal and social conservative, and a strong supporter of the EU.

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