With 57% of the vote, former general Petr Pavel was elected President of the Czech Republic.
A fortnight ago, the first round of the election, in which eight candidates contested, ended. On the ballot were Andrej Babiš, who served as prime minister until December 2021, and Petr Pavel, a former retired general who was chairman of NATO’s military committee and served as chief of staff of the Czech Republic’s army until 2015.
Voters cast their ballots until 2 p.m. today; counting of the ballots, which opened immediately, gave the general an immediate lead.
This concludes an election campaign that has been very heated and controversial due to the high level of confrontation created, both between the two candidates and among voters.
The accusations made against Babiš refer to the incompatibility between an institutional role and his position as a businessman. Babiš is in fact one of the richest men in the republic, controlling several large companies, the most important of which is Agrofert, which operates in the agro-food sector. During his government, several major protest demonstrations were organised, mainly to highlight his conflict of interest. He had recently been acquitted of fraud charges in a trial against him.
For Babiš’ supporters, the role of president is incompatible with Pavel’s extremely important functions in the country’s military and NATO. Indeed, many in the Czech Republic fear that the escalating conflict in Ukraine could risk the country’s active engagement. The fact that the new president was one of the top leaders of the Atlantic Alliance does not bode well.
The first official statements are expected any day now.