Status: 11/28/2021 11:57 a.m.
The Czech Republic has a new head of government. The liberal-conservative Fiala was appointed by President Zeman. Fiala will officially take over the official business in two weeks.
The liberal-conservative Petr Fiala is the new Czech Prime Minister. The 57-year-old took the oath of office in Lany Castle near Prague in the presence of President Milos Zeman. Because Zeman had recently tested positive for Corona, the 77-year-old 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 originally planned for last Friday.
The outgoing cabinet of multi-billionaire Andrej Babis will remain 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: “We are facing difficult times”
Fiala will lead an alliance made up of five groups 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 1191 per 100,000 population. The new coalition has spoken out against compulsory vaccination, but appealed to citizens to voluntarily reduce their contacts.
Fiala was Minister of Education from May 2012 to June 2013. The political scientist and father of three children had previously made a name for himself as the rector of Masaryk University in Brno. He has headed the Citizens Democrats for almost eight years.