Czech president too ill to work: Senate

Speaker Milos Vystrcil says Czech MPs must discuss shifting leader Milos Zeman's duties to others.
Speaker Milos Vystrcil says Czech MPs must discuss shifting leader Milos Zeman's duties to others.

Czech President Milos Zeman is currently unable to carry out his duties, the head of parliament's upper house says, citing a report he had requested from the hospital where Zeman has been in intensive care for more than a week.

Milos Vystrcil, the Senate Speaker, told reporters that the report said it was unlikely Zeman could return to work in the coming weeks.

He said parliament thus needed to discuss enacting a constitutional clause that shifts the president's duties to other officials, including the appointment of a new prime minister following the October 8-9 election.

Such a move would require consent of both houses of parliament, with the new lower chamber due to meet for the first time on November 8.

Zeman was taken to hospital the day after the election in which his ally, Prime Minister Andrej Babis, was defeated by a group of opposition parties that grabbed a majority of seats in the lower house and are aiming to form a new government.

Zeman's office has disregarded calls to give any details on the president's condition or diagnosis beyond saying his hospitalisation did not get in the way of his duties.

That prompted Vystrcil to seek the hospital's opinion, without explicitly revealing the diagnosis, and the hospital gave its report on Monday.

"In the opinion of the Central Military Hospital, President Milos Zeman is not currently able, due to health reasons, to carry out any work duties," Vystrcil said.

"In the (hospital's) opinion, given the character of President Zeman's underlying illness, the long-term prognosis of his health condition is highly uncertain and thus the possibility of his return to performing work duties in the coming weeks is evaluated as unlikely."

Australian Associated Press