Petr Fiala Sworn in as Czech Republic’s New Prime Minister

Petr Fiala Sworn in as Czech Republic’s New Prime Minister

The Czech Republic has a new head of government. President Milos Zeman appointed the liberal-conservative Petr Fiala as the country’s new Prime Minister. Fiala will officially take over the official business in two weeks.

Fiala took the oath of office in Lany Castle near Prague in the presence of President Zeman. Because Zeman had recently tested positive for Corona, the president sat behind a transparent partition.

Zeman was only released from the hospital on Thursday, where he was said to have been treated for more than a month for an unspecified chronic illness. Just hours later, he was hospitalized again after testing positive for the coronavirus. The swearing-in ceremony was initially planned for last Friday.

The departing cabinet of Andrej Babis remains in office until the new government is appointed. This step is not expected until mid-December at the earliest. Babis had come under pressure over a threatened charge of subsidy fraud and revelations in the Pandora Papers.

Fiala will lead an alliance made up of five parties, which, in addition to his Democratic Citizens Party (ODS), also includes Christian Democrats and the Pirate Party. Together they achieved 108 of the 200 seats in the House of Representatives in the parliamentary elections at the beginning of October. “We are facing difficult times,” said Fiala when the coalition agreement was signed almost three weeks ago.

The Czech Republic is in the middle of the fourth corona wave. The seven-day incidence is 1,191 per 100,000 population. The new coalition has spoken out against compulsory vaccination but appealed to citizens to voluntarily reduce their contacts.

Image by Richard White (Flickr)/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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