On Sunday, President Miloš Zeman appointed Civic Democrats (ODS) Chairman Petr Fiala as prime minister at the Lány chateau. The meeting was originally scheduled for Friday, but the president was taken to hospital after he tested positive for Covid-19, which is why Zeman was behind a transparent plexiglass barrier during the ceremony.
“Mr. Prime Minister, dear Petr, allow me to congratulate you from the bottom of my heart on your appointment as prime minister,” the president stated at the beginning of the ceremony.
Zeman arrived in the special plexiglass room that separated him from others, accompanied by paramedics in protective suits.
From today on, the president plans to begin a series of meetings with ministerial candidates, as was the plan before he tested positive for coronavirus. He would like to be done with these meetings by Dec. 13. Then, it will be possible to prepare the appointment of the entire government, the president said at the ceremony.
Earlier, the president’s spokesman, Jiří Ovčáček, specified safety measures during the appointment ceremony.
“The President of the Republic will be separated from the people present by a special wall in the room, and, at the same time, visual and audio contact will be ensured between the head of state and the appointed prime minister. The room will be properly ventilated and completely disinfected, including all items,” said Ovčáček.
The appointment of the leader of the SPOLU (Together) coalition as the new prime M=minister took place seven weeks after the parliamentary elections, in which the SPOLU (ODS, TOP 09, and KDU-ČSL) and Pirates with Mayors and Independents won 108 seats in the 200-member lower house. Fiala and the entire government would like to take over in mid-December at the latest. Until then, the current government of Andrej Babiš will be in charge.
Zeman was originally scheduled to appoint Fiala as prime minister on Friday, but he had to return to the Central Military Hospital for two days because of the positive Covid-19 test. Zeman has been previously hospitalized in this hospital with liver disease. According to Zeman’s doctors, the president is an asymptomatic patient.