January 2023 | Pro-western Petr Pavel wins presidential election
Petr Pavel, a retired army general and former NATO military committee chief has won the Czech presidential election, garnering 58.3 per cent of the vote. His opponent, Andrej Babiš, a billionaire former prime minister, won 41.6 per cent. Outgoing president Miloš Zeman supported Babiš, with who he shares Eurosceptic and anti-migrant views. Pavel, who promotes stronger EU and NATO relations as well as support for Ukraine, and supports adopting the euro and progressive policies such as same-sex marriage, has conveyed a message of unity following the results. Despite having a largely ceremonial role, the president in Czechia appoints the prime minister as well as central bank heads, is a powerful voice in foreign policy and in pushing government policies. Voter turnout was 68.2 per cent, a substantial increase from 2018’s 61.8 per cent.