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PRAGUE: Czech President Milos Zeman will appoint the country's new government on December 17 despite reservations about the designated foreign minister, his spokesman said Monday.

Zeman will appoint the government in his Lany Chateau residence west of Prague at 0900 GMT on Friday, added spokesman Jiri Ovcacek.

Right-wing prime minister designate Petr Fiala said Zeman had changed his mind and would no longer insist on the replacement of Jan Lipavsky, a Pirate Party politician set to become chief diplomat.

"The government will be appointed the way I have proposed it to the president," Fiala told reporters, adding he would like to hold a confidence vote in parliament in January.

Zeman has objected to Lipavsky's "distant attitude" towards relations with the Visegrad regional group of countries also comprising Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, and with Israel.

Lipavsky has in the past spoken out against Russia and China, while Zeman is a major supporter of both.

"The president's objections persist, but he doesn't want to burden the government with a dispute... in a situation when our citizens are facing several crises including Covid, inflation and soaring energy prices," Fiala added.

The government's 108-vote majority in the 200-seat parliament will comprise politicians from five parties.

Fiala's right-wing Civic Democrats narrowly won October's general election in an alliance with the centrist Christian Democrats and the centre-right TOP 09 party.

The grouping called Together then teamed up with a centrist alliance of the Pirate Party and the Mayors and Independents movement to oust outgoing billionaire Prime Minister Andrej Babis from power.

Zeman himself was hospitalised with serious liver problems on October 10, a day after the general election.

He was discharged in late November but was rushed back on the same day as he tested positive for Covid-19.

On November 28, he appointed Fiala as the prime minister from a plexiglass box installed at the Lany Chateau to prevent him from spreading the infection.

The Czech Republic has recently come close to the top of AFP's seven-day tally of Covid-19 infections and deaths, but its health authorities now report a rapid decline in the numbers.

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