Donald Trump should “not be embarrassing” and acknowledge he was defeated in the US election, the Czech Republic’s president has said.
Milos Zeman, a right-wing populist, was one of the few European leaders to back Mr Trump ahead of the 2016 vote, but he failed to endorse him this year before the US president’s failed re-election bid against Joe Biden.
Mr Trump has subsequently refused to concede and has baselessly claimed his wide margin of defeat was due to mass election fraud, of which there is no evidence.
His campaign has also launched a series of lawsuits intended to disrupt the presidential transition to a Biden administration.
“I personally believe that it would be much more reasonable to give up, not to be embarrassing, and allow the new president to take office,” Mr Zeman said of Mr Trump on Thursday, in an interview with a regional news website.
Mr Zeman, 76, is a towering figure in Czech post-communist politics, having served as prime minister and won two presidential elections.
Czech presidents do not wield executive power like their US counterparts, but Mr Zeman has used his influence to push for closer ties with Russia and China.
Mr Zeman has shared Mr Trump's warm approach to Russia, tough stance on immigration and hostility to Muslims.
But he never received a coveted invitation to the White House and has backed a pro-Russian stance on issues of US interest, including plans to build a new nuclear power plant in the Czech Republic and the extradition of a Russian hacking suspect to America.
While dozens of world leaders congratulated Mr Biden on his victory in the days following the 3 November election, very few have urged Mr Trump to concede, likely out of fear of angering the still-US president.
UK prime minister Boris Johnson congratulated Mr Biden personally in the days after the election was called, but has so far avoided commenting on Mr Trump’s behaviour since his defeat.
Additional reporting by Reuters