Change of power in the Czech Republic: Fiala’s government takes over official duties

Status: 17.12.2021 5:05 p.m.

Two months after the election, the Czech Republic has a new government: President Zeman sworn in Prime Minister Fiala’s cabinet. Not only does it have to cope with the pandemic, it also has to get inflation under control.

By Peter Lange, ARD Studio Prague

The magnificent room in Lany Castle was a little too small for so many people. To the left of the edge of the carpet stood the new Prime Minister Petr Fiala in a row with the 18 members of his cabinet. On the right the military guard of honor, on the carpet the entourage of President Milos Zeman. He was pushed in his wheelchair through the door on the right, almost into the middle of the room. Everyone in the room wore masks.

Peter Lange
ARD-Studio Prag

Then everything went very quickly. Only the head of the firm, Vratislav Mynar, could be heard. He read the oath of office and then called on the individual ministers. They went to the president. A handshake. Zeman passed the certificate of appointment that was handed to him.

A walk to a table, a signature, a handshake from the prime minister. The next. When the final certificate was awarded, Zeman spoke. “The simplest thing would be to wish you success, but that is not very specific. I therefore wish that something useful remains after you. That sounds obvious, but it is not,” he said.

The state of emergency should not be extended

Fiala pointed out that the situation for the population is not easy: Covid, inflation and soaring energy prices. “We have a lot of work to do,” he said. His government wants to do it a little differently than that of its predecessor. “We want to approach the problems systematically and also clearly identify them. But above all we want our work and our results to speak for us.”

The first cabinet meeting followed in the early afternoon in the government office. Afterwards, the first decision was announced: An extension of the emergency imposed by the old government due to the corona pandemic is not intended for the time being.

Babis thanks the citizens

It had been more than two months since the parliamentary elections in October. The ceremony at Lany Castle lasted less than 15 minutes. It also marked the end of the reign of Andrej Babis. In the morning he drew his own balance sheet after exactly four years and five days in office, as he calculated himself.

It was not an easy time, he said. Only two years were normal – the time without the pandemic. “A big thank you to all the citizens who supported us. How good our government was, history will at some point.” Even the commentators, who have always been critical of Babis, said today with a certain indulgence: It could have been worse.

New government sworn in in the Czech Republic

Peter Lange, ARD Prague, 17.12.2021 · 16:25

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