Written by Ash Breedlove
February 5, 2023
On January 28th, General Petr Pavel was elected president in the Czech Republic. Pavel is a former army chief and NATO official who has been vocal about his pro-Western views. Pavel’s opponent, billionaire Andrej Babis, spouted populist rhetoric in his campaign and portrayed Pavel as a warmonger for supporting Ukraine. Babis did not want to “drag the Czech Republic into war” and questioned NATO security policy. During his term as prime minister, Babis put his companies into a trust and was investigated by the European commission for allocating EU subsidies to his businesses. Pavel defeated Babis with 58.3% of the vote.
The election of Pavel represents a new direction for the Czech Republic. He has been clear about his support for Ukraine and his goal to bridge political differences in the country. The role of the president in the Czech Republic is mostly ceremonial, however, Pavel’s winning of the election represents a victory for democratic values. Pavel has the power to appoint prime ministers, other officials, and sway foreign policy. In a speech after learning he had won the election Pavel stated, “values such as truth, dignity, respect and humility won.”
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