Newly-elected president Petr Pavel promises to bring “order and stability” to Czechia

Retired army general Petr Pavel is set to become Czechia’s next president after winning a sweeping victory in the second round of presidential elections. He beat his contestant for the top post, former prime minister Andrej Babiš by the biggest margin in the history of Czech presidential elections.

Photo: René Volfík,

Petr Pavel celebrated a triumphant victory on Saturday in an atmosphere reminiscent of the heady days of the Velvet Revolution. The war hero who served as chief of the Czech Army’s General Staff and later as chair of NATO’s Military Committee, led a campaign highlighting values such as “honour, dignity and responsibility”.

In the media the contest between him and the Slovak-born billionaire and former prime minister, Andrej Babiš was portrayed as a choice between an upright liberal democrat and patriot and a populist oligarch who is only out to defend his own interests.

While Andrej Babiš told voters that he would work for peace, better living conditions and prevent the ruling centre-right coalition from controlling all three seats of power – the two chambers of Parliament and the presidency – Petr Pavel spoke about “security, order and stability” in a turbulent world.

Andrej Babiš | Photo: Michaela Říhová,  ČTK

The fact that both contenders for the presidency have a communist past gave a strange twist to the election campaign, which turned nasty in the second round, with mud-slinging and death threats.

Andrej Babiš, for whom the “traditional” political parties have been an enemy from the start, remained isolated in this campaign. He is burdened by scandal and claims of conflict of interest. Although he was acquitted of EU subsidy fraud four days before the elections, the tide of public opinion went against him.

His rival, Petr Pavel received strong backing from the unsuccessful contenders in the first round of elections, held a fortnight ago. Danuše Nerudová, Pavel Fisher and others gave him their billboard space and appeared with him in public in a show of support as yet unseen in Czech presidential elections.

Petr Fiala | Photo: Roman Vondrouš,  ČTK

He also received support from Prime Minister Petr Fiala and the leaders of the other parties in the ruling coalition, who all said openly that they would vote for Pavel.  Mr. Fiala said Czechia needed a president who would unite the nation, diffuse tensions, communicate in a normal fashion with the government and both houses of Parliament and respect the Constitution –adding that Petr Pavel fulfilled those qualities and would get his vote.

The battle is over, but possibly a much harder one lies ahead for the retired army general. Despite his sweeping victory, this election campaign has deeply divided the country. Times are hard and with the threat of war and economic recession looming large, uniting the society may prove to be a big challenge.



  • Presidential elections 2023

    Retired army general, Petr Pavel, has been elected the next president of Czechia. He will be sworn in on March 9.