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Europe News

Former General Petr Pavel takes on populist billionaire Andrej Babis in Czech presidential election

A retired army general who backs military support for Ukraine and a eurosceptic billionaire who questioned NATO’s collective defense clause are vying for the ceremonial but prestigious post of Czech president during a second round of elections from Friday.

Petr Pavel, a former general and Andrej Babis, the former prime minister, qualified for a second round of voting after none of the initial eight candidates secured an outright majority in the first round two weeks ago.

The polls favor Pavel, an independent candidate who came out on top in the first round with 35.40%. Babis followed with 34.99%. Three other candidates pledged their support for Pavel ahead of the two-day ballot.

The winner will succeed controversial Milos Zeman, whose second and final term expires in March. Zeman has divided the nation with his pro-Russian stance – until he invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 – and his support for closer ties with China.

He was the first president elected by universal suffrage. Legislators elected the two previous presidents, Vaclav Havel and Vaclav Klaus.

For more, watch the Euronews report in the video above.

euronews Gt

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