What is the result of the Czech elections?
Retired NATO general Petr Pavel has won the presidential election in the Czech Republic. Saturday, January 28 at the start of the afternoon, he obtained 57.07% of the votes after counting 90% of the ballots. His rival, ex-prime minister and billionaire Andrej Babis, only got 42.92%, according to the results of the count published live on the website of the Czech Bureau of Statistics.
Analysts expected a high turnout for this vote, which took place on Friday January 27 and Saturday January 28, after a particularly virulent election campaign.
Who is Petr Pavel?
Petr Pavel, a former paratrooper, tried by all means during the election campaign to distance himself from his competitor Andrej Babis, a man whose wealth and legal worries have made him a divisive character. When he voted in the northern village of Cernoucek, the former general said he wanted to be “a worthy president”. “I’m not going to make empty promises, but I will describe the reality as it is,” he added.
Petr Pavel, 61, is a hero of the war in the former Yugoslavia during which he notably helped to free French soldiers in a combat zone. He then became the chief of the Czech general staff and that of the military committee of NATO.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, this avid biker started a low-intensity campaign. He notably founded the “Stronger Together” initiative to manage various crises and help those in need. Some voters, however, reproach him – and like Andrej Babis – for having joined the Communist Party in his youth, from which he rose through the ranks.
What is at stake in this election?
Petr Pavel will replace Milos Zeman, a controversial politician, who had had close ties with Moscow before turning around when Russia invaded Ukraine.
Asked by AFP, Tereza Branis, who voted for Petr Pavel at a school in the capital on Friday, said she wanted a “reliable” president. “He should represent us so that other countries can count on us and us on them,” she insisted. Voting in the same place, Honza Sobotka wants the new president “to try to find a better path for his people than Mr. Zeman who has been practically invisible”.
Although his role is essentially ceremonial in the Czech Republic, a Central European country of 10.5 million inhabitants, member of the EU and NATO, the head of state appoints the government, chooses the governor of the central bank and the constitutional judges and ensures the supreme command of the armed forces.
Leave a Reply