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Czech President Zeman Appoints Centre-Right Leader Petr Fiala as Prime Minister

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Czech President Zeman Appoints Centre-Right Leader Petr Fiala as Prime Minister

Czech president Miloš Zeman appointed the leader of a large centre-right alliance, Petr Fiala, as prime minister on Sunday. 

Zeman oversaw the ceremony—which had originally been scheduled to take place on Friday—from inside a plexiglass box especially designed for the occasion. He was seated on a wheelchair and flanked by health workers in hazmat (PPE) suits.

Zeman, who is 77, had been in a military hospital since Oct. 10, when he was rushed there for treatment of an undisclosed illness. His subsequent weeks-long hospitalization left the country without a clearly defined government. He was discharged Saturday.

However, after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier last week, he is now in quarantine, Reuters reports. The plexiglass cube was built especially for Sunday’s ceremony.

When signing the official documents, Fiala, wore a respirator.

Fiala is chairman of an opposition bloc—the ODS—composed of five centre and centre-right parties. The bloc won parliamentary elections October 8-9, ousting incumbent premier Andrej Babiš, a populist billionaire, and his allies.

The election was a fiasco for the Czech left. The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM)—the direct successor of the totalitarian Communist Party of Czechoslovakia—finally lost all seats in the parliament, more than three decades after the Velvet Revolution, the first time in 76 years, CNN reports.

According to The Daily Beast, Zeman said on Sunday that he wants to meet each of Fiala’s prospective cabinet members by Dec. 13. 

Zemen is a controversial political figure. In June, during a television interview, he called transgender people “disgusting.”

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