Petr Pavel wins Czech Republic presidency by historic margin and record turnout

The president-elect of the Czech Republic, Petr Pavel – Èern Vít/CTK/dpa

Retired general Petr Pavel has won the presidential election in the Czech Republic with an unprecedented lead over his rival, former prime minister Andrej Babis, and with a record turnout at the polls.

According to the official Czech news agency CTK, the country’s Prime Minister Petr Fiala has already congratulated Pavel on his victory, confirmed by the head of government with 98 percent of the votes officially counted.

At a press conference, Fiala, who had endorsed Pavel’s candidacy, harshly criticized former Prime Minister Babis for the populism exhibited in «one of the most repugnant campaigns in the modern history» of the country, marked by threats to both candidates and an atmosphere of panic regarding the war in Ukraine.

«Populism has been directly linked to extremism, something extremely dangerous. It is good that there is a president in Prague Castle for the purpose of uniting different and calming conflicts. I look forward to working with President Pavel,» he said at a press conference reported by the Denik news portal.

Pavel obtained approximately 57.8 percent of the votes against 42.1 percent for his rival, and with a turnout of 70.2 percent, according to provisional results published on the website of the country’s national election commission.