Babis and Pavel in runoff for president

Dhe former prime minister Andrei Babis and former NATO general Petr Pavel are entering the runoff election for the presidency of the Czech Republic. In the first ballot, Babis received almost 37 percent of the votes, Pavel got almost 34 percent, according to the Czech statistical authority after counting 80 percent of the ballot papers on Saturday afternoon. The economist Danuse Nerudova came in third with just under 14 percent.

This means that Babiš and Pavel will face each other in the second round of the presidential election on January 27th and 28th. Term of office of previous President Milos Zeman ends in March.

Populist billionaire Babiš was the country’s prime minister from 2017 to 2021, before his populist ANO party narrowly lost the general election to a centre-right coalition led by current Prime Minister Petr Fiala. Since then, Babiš has been the leader of the opposition in parliament.

The 61-year-old former paratrooper Pavel headed NATO’s military committee from 2015 to 2018. He advertises “restoring order” and leading the EU country with calm and experience.

The President of the Czech Republic primarily has a ceremonial role. However, he also appoints the government, appoints the head of the central bank and the constitutional judges and is the supreme commander of the armed forces.

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