Milos Zeman

Matt Atlas

Vystrcil Says Zeman ‘Is Not In Good Hands’

The Office of the President of the Republic has not yet answered the chairman of the Senate Miloš Vystrčil (ODS) question regarding the prognosis of Miloš Zeman’s health condition and whether he is able to hold his office. He therefore asked the Central Military Hospital (ÚVN), where Zeman is being treated, and to his attending physician and at the same time the director of the ÚVN, Miroslav Zavoral. He pushed it out to reporters today. Addressing Zeman’s associates, the President of the Senate declared that the President was not in good hands. According to Vystrčil’s opinion, employees of the presidential office are taking steps with which Zeman would not always agree. The head of the president’s office, Vratislav Mynář, told ČTK that he would comment on the situation at the beginning of next week.

“After an agreement with the president’s family, I am going to speak publicly at the beginning of next week and refute the lies that are spreading,” Mynář said. He did not respond to the question of whether the presidential office would comply with Vystrčil’s request on Monday.

“The hospital and Professor Zavoral ask the doctor how it is with the President in terms of his ability to perform his office. I expect that the director of the hospital will be faster than the Office of the President of the Republic,” said Vystrčil. According to him, the senators are not interested in what the president is being treated with, but in what condition he is and what the prognosis of his functioning as head of state is. For example, whether he will be able to accept the resignation of the current government, which the incumbent Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (YES) must present after the inaugural meeting of the new Chamber of Deputies, which will meet for the first time on 8 November.

Information on the status of the head of state is important for possible negotiations on the transfer of presidential powers to other constitutional officials during Zeman’s indisposition, which would be possible with the consent of both parliamentary chambers. “If the situation is the same after 8 November and it is not clarified, then the activation of Article 66 is a real possibility,” said Vystrčil. According to him, it would not be the removal of the President, but only a temporary transfer of his powers to the Prime Minister and Speaker of the House. Vystrčil did not rule out that the Senate would meet before around November 8. It will depend on how the situation develops, said the President of the Senate.

“We must know with certainty that the President is not acting, that he does not want to act, or that he cannot act,” said Senate Vice-President Jiří Oberfalzer. If the Senate does not have medical greetings on Zeman’s condition by the November session of the Chamber of Deputies, the senators will have to make decisions to the best of their knowledge and conscience, Oberfalzer added. The Senate is planning a meeting for November 5 next month.

He said he does not think that Zeman “is not in good hands,” given the statement made by the president’s office, which does not seem credible. “I am not sure that all the steps taken by the Office of the President of the Republic are consulted with the President and that he agreed with them all,” Vystrčil said. According to Vystrčil’s convictions, Zeman would not approve of certain things.

Like Oberfalzer, Vystrčil paused over Thursday’s visit of the current Speaker of the House, Radek Vondráček (YES), to Zeman, which is accompanied by ambiguities and contradictory statements. “It seems very strange to me,” Vystrcil said. According to Vondráček, Zeman signed a decision during the meeting to convene a meeting of the Chamber of Deputies, and there are doubts about the authenticity of the signature. “It was an act that took place in complete secrecy,” Oberfalzer said. According to him, this is not acceptable.

Senate Vice-President Jiří Růžička from the Mayors’ Club is not surprised by the approach of the President’s Office, given that in recent months he has provided “inaccurate information, fogging and half-truths, sometimes even clear lies”. “It is appropriate for the Office of the President of the Republic to end its strange shadow play and provide clear information,” Růžička added. The chairman of the Senate Security Committee, Pavel Fischer (independent), stated on his Facebook pagethat the new Chamber of Deputies should “immediately establish a commission of inquiry to deal with the activities of the Office of the President of the Republic”.

Zeman was hospitalized on Sunday afternoon and is now placed in the intensive care unit of the Central Military Hospital. Zavoral announced on Sunday that Zeman had been taken to hospital due to complications that accompanied his chronic illness. Zavoral did not give an accurate diagnosis because he did not have the patient’s consent. He didn’t even say how long Zeman would be in the hospital. A hospital spokeswoman told ČTK on Monday that Zeman’s condition had stabilized. According to a Castle spokesman, the president ate apricot dumplings or wine sausage this week and asked for a book about Winston Churchill. The hospital stated that it could not be held responsible for the statements of other subjects.