Czech president prepares to appoint prime minister, gov’t

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FILE – Leader of center-right Spolu (Together) coalition Petr Fiala attends the last debates at the public radio before the poll stations open for the parliamentary election in Prague, Czech Republic, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. On Tuesday Nov. 9, 2021 The Czech Republic’s president Milos Zeman has asked Fiala was, the leader of the winning coalition in last month’s parliamentary election, to form a new government. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, File)

PRAGUE (AP) — The president of the Czech Republic is set to swear in the country’s new prime minister on Nov 26.

The candidate for the post, Petr Fiala, announced President Milos Zeman’s decision after visiting the head of state in hospital on Wednesday.

Fiala heads the coalition that captured most votes in last month’s election.

In the Czech Republic, the president usually selects the election winner to form a new government. If the candidate is successful in gathering a Cabinet, Zeman will swear him in as the prime minister and appoint his government.

Two coalitions that collected a majority of votes in the election have signed a power-sharing deal with Fiala, who told the president his 18-member Cabinet is ready to govern.

A three-party, liberal-conservative coalition known as Together, composed of the Civic Democratic Party, Christian Democrats and the TOP 09 party, led the election 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.

Babis narrowly lost the election with 27.1%.

The five parties in the future governing coalition are closer to the European Union than Euroskeptic Babis.

Fiala, 57, who leads the conservative Civic Democratic Party, is a professor of political sciences. Previously, he served as Education Minister between 2012-13.

Zeman’s condition has improved enough to be released soon from the Czech capital’s military hospital, the presidential office said on Wednesday. He was hospitalized on Oct. 10 and admitted to intensive care. Officials have not given details about his health.

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