PRAGUE (AP) – Health problems were preventing Czech President Milos Zeman from performing his duties, an official said on Monday.
Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil said a letter he received from the military hospital in Prague where Zeman is being treated indicates that the 77-year-old president is unable to work.
According to the letter signed by the hospital director, Miroslav Zavoral, Zeman is unable to perform “professional duties for health reasons” and the long-term prognosis is “very uncertain”. He said Zeman’s return to office in the coming weeks is “highly unlikely”.
Zeman was rushed to the military hospital in the Czech capital on October 10, a day after the elections to the lower house of parliament.
The hospital had previously said Zeman was in an intensive care unit in stable condition, but further details of his condition were unknown.
As president, Zeman has a key role in establishing a new government. Although the office is largely ceremonial, the Czech president is tasked with bringing in a party leader to try to form a government after a parliamentary election.
If Zeman is unable to act due to his illness or for other reasons, the prime minister and the speakers of both houses of parliament will resume his presidential powers.
The new president of the lower house will choose the prime minister if this happens. The new house will meet first on November 8 to elect the president and other officials.
Vystrcil said Senate officials will meet with party leaders elected to the lower house to discuss the temporary transfer of presidential powers.