Retired general Pavel wins Czech presidential election

The second round of the Czech presidential election concluded on Saturday, with retired general Petr Pavel winning over former Prime Minister Andrej Babis, according to official results.

With 99.99 per cent of precincts counted, Pavel won with 58.32 per cent of the vote to Babis’ 41.67 per cent. Turnover for the election surpassed 70 per cent, Xinhua news agency reported.

Voters cast their ballots on Friday and Saturday, with Czechs abroad heading to the polls on Thursday. The first round, which took place on January 13-14, featured eight candidates before going to a run-off between the two men after Pavel received 35.4 per cent of the vote and Babis received 34.99 per cent.

Pavel, 61, served as Head of the NATO Military Committee. He was endorsed by the current ruling government coalition. Babis, 68, the Head of the Action of Dissatisfied Citizens (ANO) party, served as Prime Minister from 2017 to 2021.

In his victory speech, Pavel called on Czechs to work together to get through differences and solve the country’s various challenges.

“It is important that we are able to solve problems together, as one community,” Pavel said at an election watch party in Prague. He added that the Czech society was not only divided by the campaign but also by the hardships the country is currently facing.

The President of the Czech Republic is chosen in a direct election and serves a term of five years. The mandate can be held for a maximum of two consecutive terms. Incumbent President Milos Zeman’s term concludes in March.




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