According to the statement of the Central Military Hospital (ÚVN), President Miloš Zeman is currently unable to perform any work duties for health reasons. This was announced today by the chairman of the Senate Miloš Vystrčil (ODS) with reference to the statements of the director of ÚVN and Zeman’s attending physician Miroslav Zavoral. According to Vystrčil, the leadership of the Senate will meet on Tuesday with the chairmen of the parliamentary parties to discuss the procedure for transferring the powers of the president during Zeman’s indisposition. The hospital’s information about Zeman’s health is surprising, which is not good news, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told Radiožurnál. He is ready to discuss the next steps.
“In the opinion of the Central Military Hospital, Miloš Zeman, the President of the Republic, is currently unable to perform any work duties for health reasons,” Vystrčil said.
The President of the Senate also stated that in the opinion of the Central Committee, given the nature of Zeman’s underlying disease, the long-term prognosis of Zeman’s health condition is “assessed as extremely uncertain”. “And thus the possibility of returning to work in the coming weeks is assessed as unlikely,” Vystrčil added, referring to Zavoral’s statement.
Due to Zeman’s health, representatives of senatorial clubs see no other option than to transfer presidential powers to the Prime Minister and Speaker of the House, which must be agreed by both chambers. “Unfortunately, there is no other option than to have to talk about when and how we will activate Article 66 of the Constitution,” Vystrčil said.
According to the chairman of STAN senators Petr Holeček, the evidence for transfer is no more relevant than the letter from the director of ÚVN and the attending physician of the president. “It is clear that the activation of Article 66 is and will be very topical,” agreed Jaroslav Větrovský (ANO), who leads the joint senatorial club ANO and the CSSD. According to the chairman of the club, Senator 21 and Pirates of Václav Láska, the transfer of the powers of the president will be nothing more than a repetition of a medical report on the state of the president by legal means. He pushed out that Zavoral’s letter did not state Zeman’s diagnosis, nor did the Senate ask for it.
Senate Vice-Chairman Jiří Růžička from the Starostů Club emphasized that the transfer of presidential powers does not mean the removal of Zeman from the position of head of state. The Senate has accused some of its critics of this effort, including the president’s spokesman.
The President of the Senate also said that the Chancellor Vratislav Mynář was informed about the opinion of the Central Committee on Zeman’s condition on Wednesday, October 13, and he also received it in writing. Nevertheless, a day later, Mynář mediated Zeman’s meeting with the Speaker of the House, Radek Vondráček (YES), who spoke positively about Zeman’s condition. According to Mynář, Zeman signed a decision during the meeting, convening a meeting of the Chamber of Deputies in the post-election composition on November 8. The authenticity of the signature is subject to police verification.
Mynář did not say anything about the president’s health this afternoon, on the contrary, he accused the Senate and its president of trying to make themselves visible and of hypocrisy due to a request regarding Zeman’s condition and ability to hold the presidency. He stuck out, saying it made no sense to comment.
The Senate’s right to request information on the state of the president on Sunday was also questioned by the incumbent Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (YES). “Why does the Senate want a message? Why does anyone need to know immediately what the president’s health is? It would be good for these disgust to end,” Babiš said in his program on social networks. He stuck out and said that the question should be from what source Babiš and other YES officials had information about Zeman’s condition.
Tuesday’s meeting in the Senate, to which the chairmen of the parties represented in the post-election House will be invited, will be preceded by a meeting of the Senate Constitutional Commission on the possibility of transferring presidential powers.
The Senate originally asked the presidency for information on Zeman’s condition last week, but to no avail. On Friday, he therefore turned to the Central Hospital, where Zeman was transferred to the intensive care department last Sunday. On the same day, Zavoral justified the president’s hospitalization with complications that accompanied his chronic illness. He did not give an accurate diagnosis to the media because Zeman did not agree.