Outgoing Czech prime minister billionaire Andrej Babis, whose populist party narrowly lost parliamentary elections last week, said on Friday he would turn down an offer to form the new government and join the opposition.
This waiver gives the field free to Petr Fiala, the leader of the center-right Ensemble alliance, which narrowly won the election, to be appointed prime minister.
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In coalition with an alliance of two centrist parties, Ensemble has an absolute majority in the lower house of parliament, with 108 of the 200 seats.
"We will hand over (the post of prime minister) to the new coalition and we will go into the opposition,"
Andrej Babis told Frekvence 1 radio. The two alliances have already started working together to form the new government. It is President Milos Zeman, who has been in intensive care in a Prague hospital since Sunday, who must appoint the new prime minister responsible for forming a government.
Milos Zeman had warned ahead of the election that he would choose the leader of a party and not an alliance as prime minister, suggesting that his former political ally, Andrej Babis, a billionaire businessman, would be the first designated. On Thursday, he urged parliament to have its first session since the November 8 elections.
Under the Constitution, parliament must meet before the outgoing government resigns.
It is only after that the president can nominate a candidate for the post of prime minister.
Presidency spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said on Wednesday that Milos Zeman would meet with Petr Fiala at
"a later date".
According to analysts, running the government would have been an impossible task for Andrej Babis, given the makeup of the new parliament.