Thursday, December 2, 2021

Czech police investigate the case of ailing presidential aide

Czech police are investigating allegations that a senior aide to the President, Milos Zeman, committed a crime to cover up the deteriorating health of a 77-year-old.

Earlier this week, Senate Speaker Milos Vistrchil received a report from doctors that Zeman could not fulfill his duties and is unlikely to be able to do so anytime soon.

Zeman was hospitalized on October 10, the day after opposition candidates toppled Prime Minister Andrei Babis’s party and won the majority of seats in the lower house of the Czech parliament.

As President, Zeman must choose who will form the next government.

Legislators accuse Zeman’s chief of staff, Vratislav Mynar, of knowing about Zeman’s condition and not updating Czech officials or the public, and possibly forging the president’s signature on documents.

Following the revelations, the country’s national law enforcement agency announced on Twitter on Tuesday that authorities were investigating “crimes against the republic.”

Hours before his hospitalization, Zeman met with Andrei Babis, an ally and prime minister of the Central European country whose party was defeated in legislative elections last week.

The liberal-conservative three-party coalition, known as Together, together with the allied coalition, outpaced the populist ANO (DA) Babis and claimed the majority of seats in the lower house of parliament.

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With no sign that Zeman will recover quickly, Babis and the speakers of both houses of parliament are pondering what to do next. On Tuesday, senators met with new party leaders to discuss the transfer of executive powers to Zeman Babis and two House leaders, Radek Vondrachek, Speaker of the Lower House, and Vystrzil.

The coalition agreed to consider the issue of the president’s resignation at the first meeting of the lower house on November 8, reports Washington Post promised that he would not try to stay in power after the election defeat.

The winning coalition, along with the friendly liberal coalition, claimed 108 seats in the last elections. Their power-sharing deal will replace ANO as the majority party in the lower house of parliament.

The new house will have to select a new speaker who can help lift Zeman’s mantle if the Czech president remains too sick to lead.

Some of the information for this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.

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