Retired army general Petr Pavel elected next president of Czechia

Retired army general, Petr Pavel, has been elected the next president of Czechia. Mr. Pavel won the runoff against former prime minister Andrej Babiš, by the biggest margin ever in the history of Czech presidential elections. With  all votes counted, Petr Pavel got over 58.3 percent of the vote, his contestant received 41.6 percent.

General Pavel, whose election motto was “order and stability” received strong backing from the unsuccessful contenders in the first round of elections held a fortnight ago. He also received support from Prime Minister Petr Fiala and the leaders of the other parties in the ruling coalition.

Mr. Pavel will succeed the incumbent president, Miloš Zeman, and become the fourth president of Czechia. He is the second head of state to have been elected by popular vote.

Voter turnout in the second round of elections reached a record high at just over 70 percent.

The second round of voting was preceded by an aggressive and emotionally charged election campaign, which the prime minister described as “the worst in the country’s modern history”. He said he was greatly looking forward to cooperating with Petr Pavel and stressed the need for the newly-elected president to diffuse the tension and unite the nation.