COVID infected Czech president appoints new prime minister from glass box
- Czech President Milos Zeman tested positive for coronavirus after intensive care treatment for an unspecified illness
- He was wheeled into a plexiglass box at the presidential chateau to appoint Petr Fiala as the new prime minister
- Fiala has previously served as Education Minister from 2012 to 2013
Czech President Milos Zeman appointed opposition leader Petr Fiala as the country's new prime minister. Zeman, who is in self-isolation after he tested positive for coronavirus last week, was wheeled in by hospital staff into a plexiglass box at the presidential chateau in Lany, west of Prague, for the ceremony on Sunday. Zeman, 77, was only discharged from the capital’s military hospital a day before, following more than a month's intensive care treatment for an unspecified chronic disease and then a couple of days of concern after he tested positive for the coronavirus.
The 77-year-old is a heavy smoker and former heavy drinker who uses a wheelchair and suffers from diabetes, according to BBC.
Speaking through a microphone from the sealed box, Zeman wished Fiala “success.”
Zeman said he will meet the candidates for the ministers between November 29 and December 13 to discuss their appointment to the new Cabinet.
Fiala, who has led the conservative Civic Democratic Party since 2014, is a professor of political sciences. Previously, the 57-year-old served as Education Minister from 2012 to 2013.
Following the parliamentary election on October 8-9, a three-party, liberal-conservative coalition known as Together, composed of the Civic Democratic Party, Christian Democrats and the TOP 09 party, led with a 27.8% share of the vote.
Together teamed up with a center-left liberal coalition made up of the Pirate Party and STAN — a group of mayors and independent candidates — which came in third place with 15.6% of votes.
The new partnership will hold 108 seats in the 200-seat lower house of Parliament, relegating populist Prime Minister Andrej Babis and his centrist ANO (YES) movement to the opposition.
The five parties in the future governing coalition have agreed on a power-sharing deal. They are closer to the European Union than Euroskeptic Babis.
(With AP inputs)