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Czech president in ICU, as post-election talks delays

Re-elected Czech President Milos Zeman attends the inauguration ceremony at Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic. Photo: Reuters

Czech President Milos Zeman is in a stable condition in an intensive care unit, a hospital spokeswoman says, as his illness delayed the initial steps in post-election talks to form a new government.

Reuters reports that Zeman, 77, was taken to the hospital on Sunday and was receiving treatment in the hospital’s highest type of intensive care ward due to what the hospital director said were complications related to an undisclosed chronic condition. 

Prime Minister Andrej Babis’ ANO party narrowly lost a parliamentary election completed on Saturday to the centre-right Together coalition and their allies the liberal Pirates/Mayors and appears to have no chance of forming a ruling majority. 

Zeman was due to meet Babis on Wednesday, but that meeting was cancelled on Monday.

The Together coalition’s candidate for prime minister, Petr Fiala, said he would hold off requesting a meeting with the president at which he wanted to ask for a mandate to form the next government.

“I don’t know how serious the president’s condition is. I will wait until there is news that his condition has improved,” Fiala said via a spokesman.

Zeman, an ally of Babis, had said prior to the election that he would give the first shot at forming a government to the leader of the strongest individual party, which is Babis’ ANO.