Former army chief Petr Pavel won Saturday’s presidential elections in the Czech Republic following a campaign that showed strong support for NATO and the EU, as well as support for aid to Ukraine.
Pavel, a 61-year-old military veteran and first-time candidate for public office, won more than 58% of the vote, reported by nearly every constituency, beating billionaire former prime minister Andrei Babis. For ten years he has been involved in Czech politics.
Pavel, who campaigned as an independent and won the support of the center-right government, delivered a message of social unity and calmness when he addressed election headquarters at a concert in Prague on Saturday, and he won. showed that it did
“Values such as truth, dignity, respect and humility won out,” Pavel told supporters and journalists. We deserve to make them part of our lives and try to give back to Prague Castle and our politics.”
The Czech president does not have much of a daily routine, but he elects the prime minister and central bank governor, has a say in foreign policy, is an influential opinion maker, and can push policies to the government.
Pavel takes office in March, succeeding Milos Zeman, who has been president for two terms in the past decade and has backed Babis as his successor.
Until Russia invaded Ukraine, Zeman had sought closer ties with the Chinese government and Moscow, but Pavel’s election would represent a radical change.
Babis, 68, a belligerent business tycoon who heads the largest opposition party in parliament, has attacked Pavel as a candidate for government. He tried to attract voters struggling with high prices by vowing to urge the government to do more to help voters.
Babis and Prime Minister Petr Fiala congratulated Pavel on Saturday’s victory.
The results of the election will not be official until they are published in a legal journal on Tuesday, but the results of the poll were already clear on Saturday.
Pavel supports keeping the central European nation of 10.5 million firmly in the European Union and NATO military alliances, and supports the government’s continued support for Ukraine since Russia’s aggression last year. increase.
He supports adoption of the euro, a topic that successive governments have put on the back burner, and supports gay marriage and other progressive policies.
A career soldier, Pavel joined the military during the communist era, was awarded the French Cross for bravery during peacekeeping operations in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, and later led the Czech General Staff and served as NATO’s military commissar. I was chairman of the board for three years. He retired in 2018.
“I voted for Mr. Pavel because I think he is a decent and reasonable person and that the younger generation will have a future with him,” said the 60-year-old after voting in Prague on Saturday. said Abdullah Diop of
Babis campaigns over fears of escalating war in Ukraine and offers to broker peace talks, suggesting that Pavel may drag Czechs into the war as ex-combatants. I tried, but Pavel refused.