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New Czech president Petr Pavel, 'military-born' political newcomer

In the Czech presidential election, candidate Petr Pavel (61), a 'political newcomer', defeated 'former prime minister'. Pavel, who served as the military chairman of the European Union and NATO, unexpectedly won a landslide victory in the presidential election.

According to foreign media such as Reuters on the 28th (local time), independent candidate Pavel won the Czech presidential election with 58.3% of the vote. Andrei Babish (68), former Prime Minister and leader of the opposition Positive Party (ANO), won only 41.7% of the candidate. Bobby Si, a former "billionaire entrepreneur" and former prime minister, admitted defeat.

Earlier, the two predicted a fierce battle. As a result of the first round of ballot counting two weeks ago, Pavel and Babish received 35.39% and 35% of the votes, respectively, with a gap of only 0.39 percentage points. However, the result was a landslide victory for candidate Pavel.

In the Czech Republic, which has a parliamentary system of government, the presidency is only symbolic as the prime minister holds executive powers. However, as the head of state, the president has the right to appoint the prime minister and the cabinet,and has a voice in diplomacy.

Pavel, a former chief of staff of the Czech Army, headed the Military Council that coordinated NATO's high-level military policy. He expressed the opinion that cooperation with the EU and NATO should be pursued and military assistance to Ukraine should be continued. He is also in favor of introducing the euro in the Czech Republic.

If Pavel assumes the presidency in March, he will become the Czech Republic's fourth president since it separated from Slovakia in 1993. His term is 5 years. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky congratulated Pavel on Twitter, saying, "I look forward to close cooperation." [Hankook Ilbo]

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