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Czech presidential election run-off between Petr Pavel and Andrej Babiš

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Czechia – Czech voters were called to the polls on 13 and 14 January to choose a successor to President Miloš Zeman. According to the results published by the Czech press, the two candidates qualifying for the second round of voting on 27–28 January will be General Petr Pavel (35.4% of the vote in the first round), a former Czech Army Chief of Staff (2012–2015) and former Chairman of the NATO Military Committee (2015–2018), and Andrej Babiš (35.0%), a former finance minister (2014–2017) and former prime minister (2017–2021).

Despite polls that gave her between 23% and 28% of voting intentions, the third candidate, economist Danuše Nerudová, came in far behind with 13.9% of the popular vote, ahead of Senator Pavel Fischer (6.8%), former ambassador Jaroslav Bašta (4.5%), and three other candidates.

General Pavel scored best in Prague (51.0%), Central Bohemia (40.6%), Hradec Králové (36.3%), Liberec (35.6%), and South Moravia (34.0%). Apart from Prague, he also took the lead in the cities of Brno (42.6%), Plzeň (41.5%), Liberec (40.1%), Olomouc (38.8%), České Budějovice (37.7%), Hradec Králové (42.7%), and Pardubice (40.0%).

Former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš came in first in the regions of Ústí nad Labem (47.3%), Moravia-Silesia (44.9%), Karlovy Vary (42.8%), Olomouc (39.6%), Plzeň (37.4%), Vysočina (35.5%), Zlín (35.3%), South Bohemia (34.9%), and Pardubice (34.6%), as well as in the cities of Ostrava (44.7%) and Ústí nad Labem (43.3%).

Among the reactions heard on the evening of the first round, third-placed Danuše Nerudová called on her voters to choose General Pavel in the run-off ballot. “Congratulations to the winner of the first round, General Pavel, and fingers crossed for the second round!”, she wrote on Twitter. General Pavel can also count on the support of fourth-placed Senator Pavel Fischer (6.8%), who said that “we must join forces” (against Babiš).

In Czechia, the president’s role is a mostly ceremonial one. However, he appoints the prime minister and may also dismiss him or her as well as the whole government. He also has the power to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies, and he appoints the Constitutional Court’s judges and the Supreme Court’s President and Vice-Presidents. Since the fall of communism and the separation from Slovakia, Czechia has had three presidents: Václav Havel (1993–2003), Václav Klaus (2003–2013), and Miloš Zeman (2013–2023).