Former NATO General Wins Czech Presidential Election

    Former NATO General Wins Czech Presidential Election
    Last updated Jan 30, 2023
    Image credit: EPA [via The Guardian]


    • Former army chief of staff Petr Pavel defeated billionaire former prime minister Andrej Babis in a presidential runoff vote and became the fourth president of the Czech Republic on Saturday.[1]
    • According to the Czech Statistics Office, Pavel won 58.3% of the vote with just over approximately 3.3M votes out of the nearly 8.25M votes cast in the runoff.[2]
    • Pavel, claimed, "My presidency will succeed only when we all succeed together. I can see that values such as truth, dignity, respect, and humility have won in this election."[3]
    • In defeat, Babis — who secured 42.7% of the votes — called on his supporters "to accept that I've lost and accept we have a new president."[4]
    • Pavel — a former NATO general — is set to replace Milos Zeman, whose second and final term expires in March.[5]
    • While the role is largely ceremonial in nature, the Czech president names the government, selects the central bank governor, determines the constitutional judges, and acts as armed forces commander.[6]


    Narrative A

    Pavel's win is not just a victory for liberal democracy over oligarchic populism, it's also a humiliating rebuff for Babis — who ran an ill-tempered campaign and portrayed Pavel as a warmonger for his support of military aid to Ukraine. He represents the whole of society and can act as an independent, no-nonsense, dignified president unaffected by divisive party politics.

    Narrative B

    A strong advocate of Czech membership of the EU and NATO, Pavel — a former soldier and a KGB-trained spy during the Communist era — could potentially drag the country into a bigger war with Russia if he fulfilled his pledge to aid and support Ukraine. Furthermore, a president who openly supports unpopular policies will bring disorder to the Czech Republic.

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