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Czech President Milos Zeman smiles as he addresses the media. Czech President Milos Zeman addresses the media during a joint press conference with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, in Vienna, June 10, 2021 (AP photo by Lisa Leutner).

The Czech President Eyes a Post-Election Power Grab

Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021

PRAGUE, Czech Republic—President Milos Zeman’s decision last week to sign legislation that blocks Russia and China from involvement in the Czech nuclear industry came as a surprise given Zeman’s efforts to deepen ties with Moscow and Beijing. The move was likely a tactical retreat by the cunning head of state, who expects upcoming parliamentary elections on Oct. 8 and 9 to hand him significant influence over the next government.  

Although polls suggest the country is split down the middle, with support divided equally between illiberal populist and pro-democratic forces, Zeman has already said he plans to use the constitutional power of his office to reappoint populist Prime Minister Andrej Babis.  ...

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