Prague, 28 November 2021 (dpa/MIA) – Petr Fiala, a liberal conservative politician, was appointed as the new prime minister of the Czech Republic on Sunday.
Fiala took the oath of office in Lany Castle near Prague in the presence of President Milos Zeman, who sat behind a transparent partition after recently testing positive for the coronavirus.
The outgoing government under multi-billionaire Andrej Babis will continue to govern provisionally until the entire new cabinet is appointed. The handover is not expected until mid-December at the earliest.
Babis came under pressure after allegations of fraud involving EU subsidies and other revelations from the publication of the so-called “Pandora Papers.”
Fiala heads an alliance of five groupings including his Civic Democratic Party (ODS), the Christian Democrats and the Pirate Party who together won 108 of the 200 seats in the Chamber of Deputies in the elections in early October.
“We are facing difficult times,” Fiala said when he signed the coalition agreement almost three weeks ago.
The country is suffering from a severe fourth wave of Covid-19 infections, with a seven-day incidence rate of 1,191 cases per 100,000 people.
The new coalition has spoken out against compulsory vaccination, but has called on the public to reduce contacts voluntarily.
Fiala was minister of education from May 2012 to June 2013. A political science professor and father of three, he was previously rector of Masaryk University in the Czech city of Brno.
He has led the ODS for almost eight years.