The Czech Republic is plunged into uncertainty as President Milos Zeman is rushed to hospital a day after his ally, populist billionaire Prime Minister Andrej Babis, narrowly lost an election.
The president, who plays a critical role in nominating any future prime minister, is taken to the hospital by ambulance shortly after meeting Babis and appears to be unconscious upon arrival, with someone seen holding up his head.
His doctor says he is in intensive care.
Babis is hoping to hold on to power despite being defeated on Saturday by the center-right Together alliance, which has said it is ready to form a majority government with another grouping.
But after the first informal talks between Babis and Zeman at the latter’s residence outside Prague, the president, who has been grappling with liver problems according to local media and politicians, ends up in intensive care.
“At the moment, the patient is hospitalized at an intensive care unit of Prague’s Military University Hospital,” Zeman’s doctor and head of the hospital, Miroslav Zavoral, tells reporters.
He adds that Zeman has not allowed him to disclose his diagnosis.
The president had cast his ballot in his official residence because of health problems, less than a month after he spent eight nights at the military hospital.
Zeman’s office has been secretive about his illness, giving no details for weeks.
Zeman is a heavy smoker who has suffered from diabetes and neuropathy linked to it. He has trouble walking and has been using a wheelchair.