On Friday and Saturday, the second voting round of the presidential elections took place in the Czech Republic. The fight was between Andrej Babis, former prime minister, and the retired general, who also held a post at NATO, Petr Pavel. The latter, with the support of the center-right parties, obtained, according to the first provisional results published on Saturday by the Czech Statistics Office, 57.07% of the votes, compared to 42.92% obtained by Andrej Babis, after the sale of almost 90% of the votes cast.
Who is Petr Pavel?
Petr Pavel, 61 years old, a former paratrooper, strove, by all means, during the election campaign, to distance himself completely from the competitor Andrej Babis, a character who, due to his wealth, but also judicial complications, became a dubious politician. Foreign press correspondents who covered the electoral campaign and presidential elections in the Czech Republic revealed that, when he voted in his native village of Cernoucek, in the north of the country, former general Petr Pavel wanted to emphasize that he wanted to be “a president worthy” of this position. “I will not release promises and describe the reality as it is,” he added. What is known about his background: He is a hero of the war in the former Yugoslavia, on which occasion he particularly distinguished himself by freeing French soldiers from the combat zone. He later became the Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Army and the NATO Military Committee. During the coronavirus pandemic, Petr Pavel, a passionate motorcyclist, started a somewhat discreet campaign. He founded the “Stronger Together” initiative, participating in the management of various crisis situations, helping people in need.
Some of the voters reproached him and his opponent Andrej Babis for having been part of the communist party in his youth, then occupying important positions, but in recent years, at some point, he expressed his regret that he got involved in the communist party.
Elected president, Petr Pavel will replace Milos Zeman, a controversial politician who maintained close ties with Moscow before “jumping into another boat” at the time of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The new president of the Czech Republic, a Central European country with 10.5 million inhabitants, a member of the EU and NATO, has a difficult mission in the immediate period ahead. He will face runaway inflation and a record deficit caused by the war in Ukraine. Regarding the internal and external policy that he will promote, we recall the promises made by Petr Pavel: “The stake of the current electoral campaign”, Petr Pavel emphasized at the time, “will be to know if there will be chaos in our country or if it will return to the rule of law, if we will be a country worthy of trust for our allies”. Last Friday, before the first round of the presidential election, he declared: “The Czech Republic will remain pro-Western, preserve strategic relations with the EU and NATO, and stand by Ukraine.”