Å pidla Collapses

Prime Minister Vladimír Špidla collapsed today during a meeting of his party, the Social Democrats. He was taken to the Army Hospital and is apparently still there.

One MP told ČTK that the after taking the floor during a ČSSD debate, he slumped from his chair to the ground. “He said two words, then was silent and fell,” he added.

Å pidla isn’t known for being in bad health; he’s in pretty good shape, and was seen walking into Parliament today apparently in good health.

Maybe the huge stress of recent days is starting to wear him down. Consider that he’s had to lead tense negotiations on tax reform, meet with the Dutch Prime Minister, who unexpectedly announced plans to close his labor markets to workers from the accession countries, and put down an internal rebellion inside his own party.

UPDATE 14:20 Fri 20 Feb: Apparently, the cause of the collapse was the news that his candidate for EU commissioner, Miloš Kužvart, wants to step down days after accepting the nomination.

Immediately after the collapse, criticism was leveled at the emergency services’ response. Novinky.cz published the transcript of the 155 (a Czech 911 equivalent):

Employee: Prague Rescue Services, emergency line.

Press Spokeswoman: Hello, this is Anna Veverková. I am the press spokeswoman for the government. Could I request a paramedic ambulance for the Prime Minister to the Parliament? It’s at Sněmovní ulice number 4, at the back entrance. The Prime Minister has collapsed.

Employee: Sněmovní ulice 4, back entrance. The MP’s name is?

Press Spokeswoman: It’s Mr. Å pidla, the Prime Minister.

Employee: We’re going there.

Press Spokeswoman: Thank you very much. Goodbye.

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