The independent candidate, retired general Petr Pavel narrowly won the first round of the presidential elections in the Czech Republic, thanks to votes in Prague and big cities and a high voter turnout of over 68 percent, and is going to the second round with former populist Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.
The former chief of the General Staff and former second man of NATO as the head of the Military Committee of the Western military alliance, won the elections after 99.81 percent of the votes were counted, 35.38 percent, while the former prime minister, tycoon of the agro and chemical industry and the fifth richest man in the Czech Republic, Andrej Babiš, was left behind. with 35.02 percent of voter support.
In the first round of the election for the fourth president of the Czech Republic on Friday and Saturday, 68.26 percent of the 8.3 million registered voters turned out, which is the third highest turnout for any election in the history of the country.
The retired general enters the second round of elections on January 27 and 28 with the support of the third participant in the elections, Danuša Nerudova, professor of economics and former rector of the Mendelian University in Brno.
She won 13.92 percent of the votes in the first round, and they recommended to their voters to support General and Senator Pavel Fischer who won 6.75 percent and Marek Hilšer who got 2.56 percent.
“There is a big evil here, his name is Andrej Babiš, he got a relatively large number of votes. He owns the media, political parties, and now he would like to take possession of the Lani castle and the presidential castle Hradčani,” said Nerudova.
Prime Minister Petr Fijala congratulated General Pavel on his victory in the first round, saying that the second round will be a clash of values.
“On one side, populism and lies. On the other side, democracy, respect for the Constitution and Western values. That’s why I invite everyone to support General Pavel in the second round,” the Czech Prime Minister said at the press conference.
Babiš’s associates announced that in the second round, Babiš will emphasize the fact that it is very dangerous for the Czech Republic that the current center-right government has “its” president in addition to both houses of parliament.
However, this is exactly how the entire prime ministerial mandate of Babis himself passed from 2017 to 2021, when his minority government survived only thanks to the support of President Zeman and Zeman’s refusal to appoint anyone other than Babis as prime minister, regardless of whether he would secure a majority in parliament.
“The main thing we will discuss is whether chaos and populism will continue to reign in our country, or whether we will return to the fact that rules are respected, that politicians respect what they promised, that they communicate transparently with people and that we will be a country worthy of trust for our allies”, said Petr Pavel.
Andrej Babiš marked his unexpectedly weaker result and entering the second round from second place as a “famous success” and congratulated Pavel and Nerudova, whom he marked as government candidates, and warned that it would not be good for citizens if the government had a majority in parliament and its own man in presidential castle Hradčani.