The Czech president appointed the country’s opposition leader as prime minister on Sunday, doing so from inside an acrylic glass box. President Milos Zemen, 77, was seated in a wheelchair and surrounded by health workers decked out in full PPE. Zemen tested positive for the coronavirus last week. He was discharged from a military hospital only on Saturday, following more than a month in treatment for an unrelated and undisclosed chronic illness. The ceremony, swearing in Petr Fiala, had originally been scheduled to take place on Friday. Zemen’s plexiglass cubicle had been designed especially for the delayed occasion.
Fiala is the leader of a five-party coalition that won an October parliamentary election, ousting populist billionaire Andrej Babiš as prime minister. Zeman was rushed to the hospital a day later, where he spent weeks in intensive care. His hospitalization left the country without a clearly defined government, as one of his main duties is to officially appoint a prime minister after an election to form it. He remains in quarantine, though he said on Sunday that he wants to meet each of Fiala’s prospective cabinet members by Dec. 13. Zemen remains a controversial political figure, calling transgender people “disgusting” in a June television interview.