Czech president hospitalized; could affect forming new govt

Czech President Milos Zeman was rushed to the hospital on Sunday, a day after the country held parliamentary election in which populist Prime Minister Andrej Babis’ party surprisingly came in second and Zeman has a key role in establishing a new government.

The Czech presidency is largely ceremonial but the president chooses which political leader can try to form the next government. Earlier Sunday, Zeman met with Babis, his close ally, but the prime minister made no comment as he left the presidential chateau in Lany, near Prague.

On Saturday, the centrist ANO (Yes) party led by Babis, a populist billionaire, narrowly lost the Czech Republic’s election, which could spell the end of the euroskeptic leader’s reign in the European Union nation of 10.7 million people.

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Czech Republic’s President Milos Zeman is admitted to the Military hospital in Prague, Czech Republic, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

A liberal-conservative three-party coalition named Together captured 27.8% of the vote, beating Babis’ ANO, which won 27.1%. In a second blow to the populists, another center-left liberal coalition received 15.6% to finish third.

The winning coalition won 71 seats while its third-place partner captured 37

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