- Hans Weber
- December 1, 2023
Former NATO general to be next Czech president
Petr Pavel, a former NATO general, has recently won the run-off election for the office of the Czech president. He is known for his strong stance against Russia, as he advocates for an intensification of the conflict in the Ukraine war. Pavel believes that the West should provide Ukraine with all types of weapons except nuclear ones, including tanks, drones, artillery, longer-range missiles, and even supersonic aircraft. He is critical of European countries that, in his view, are not delivering enough heavy warfare equipment to Ukraine, and he believes that the West should have reacted more decisively to the situation in the Donbas.
Pavel also advocates for direct intervention by NATO ground troops against Russia, and he would agree to the deployment of NATO soldiers to protect humanitarian corridors and to impose a no-fly zone. Additionally, he has gone on the offensive against China, by inviting Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to a personal meeting, even though the Czech Republic officially supports a One-China policy.
The Ukraine war was the central topic of the presidential election, and many people in the Czech Republic are feeling the impact of the sanctions against Russia. The country has been hit hard by the resulting price increases, which are affecting the population more than almost any other country in the EU, with the exception of the Baltic states. Despite this, the opposition to the future president’s policy did not find expression in the election.
In the run-off election, Pavel won with 58.2% of the vote against his opponent’s 41.6%. Despite this result, it does not necessarily mean that the Czech population supports Pavel’s fanatical war policy, but rather a distorted expression of anger towards former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who was seen as a symbol of corruption. Babiš’s party, ANO, is still the strongest in parliament, and he is not expected to retire quietly from politics.
Pavel’s aggressive stance towards Russia and his military background have made him the preferred candidate of the EU and its member states, with Ursula von der Leyen, head of the EU Commission in Brussels, being the first to congratulate him. Pavel represents the growth of militarism that is being pursued within the EU, and he is a strong advocate for the introduction of the euro, austerity measures, and rearmament both at home and abroad.
Article by Prague Forum