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Pavel during a rally in support of Ukraine in Brno, March 2022. Wikipedia

New Czech president is ex-NATO general Pavel

The Czech Republic is getting a new president: Ex-NATO general Petr Pavel has won the runoff against Andrej Babiš.

Published: January 29, 2023, 7:07 am

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    Former NATO general Petr Pavel (61) has become the new president of the Czech Republic. He surprisingly beat the populist ex-prime minister and billionaire Andrej Babiš in the decisive runoff. After counting 99,9 percent of the polling stations, Pavel clearly won with 58,3 percent, while Babiš lagged behind with 41,7 percent. Voter turnout was 70,2 percent.

    At the beginning of March, the ex-military man – who used to be the chief of staff in the Czech Republic – followed incumbent President Miloš Zeman (78), a friend of Russia. Zeman is leaving office on March 8. Pavel will be sworn in as the new head of state on March 9 at Prague Castle by Senate leader Miloš Vystrčil, according to sources.

    Zeman is leaving office after 10 years

    Pavel thanked all voters. They have shown respect for democracy, he noted. “I can’t see any defeated voters and no victorious voters,” he said after his election. The values of truth, dignity, respect and humility won in the presidential elections, Pavel stressed, adding that in office he would like to convince all citizens to return to these values. In doing so, he once again distanced himself from Zeman and Babiš, whom he accused of having caused “disillusionment”.

    Pavel holds “progressive” and woke views. He also supports same-sex marriage and adoption rights for homosexual people, and confirmed that he would not veto a law permitting same-sex marriage.

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