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Former communist and hero in France, who is Petr Pavel, the new Czech president?


During the campaign, the sixty-year-old assured that he had wiped the slate clean and declared himself resolutely pro-Western, wishing for modern

Petr Pavel, 61, won the presidential election in the Czech Republic on Saturday.

This retired general has promised to “restore order” in this country of 10.5 million inhabitants, a member of NATO.

"I can't ignore that people are feeling more and more chaos, disorder and uncertainty, that the state has somehow stopped working," he said on his campaign website.

“We have to change that.

We must respect the rules valid for everyone.

We need a general sweep,” he insisted.

A communist past

Born on November 1, 1961, Petr Pavel attended a military high school and then a military university.

He joined the Communist Party - a move his opponents still blame him for - and began a rapid rise through the ranks of the military.

He is also accused of having wanted to become a military intelligence agent.

“I was born into a family where party membership (Communist, Ed) was considered normal,” he justified himself on his site.

“I had neither enough information nor enough experience to assess the criminal nature of the regime.

Now I know it was a mistake,” he continued.

When communism fell in 1989, Petr Pavel left the party but continued his intelligence training.

"For 33 years, I participated in the democratization of our country and campaigned for a pro-Western turn," defended Petr Pavel again.

"I believe that my actions clearly show what values ​​I defend and that I am ready to fight to preserve them," he said again.

NATO Commander

An elite paratrooper, Petr Pavel became known for having liberated French troops besieged by the Serbs during the Bosnian war in 1993. Paris also awarded him the Legion of Honor for his bravery in 2012.

"Demonstrating extraordinary courage by interposing himself between Serbian and Croat belligerents, General Pavel, then a young


officer , and his Czech volunteers had saved 53 Frenchmen and taken care to repatriate the bodies of two French soldiers who died during the offensive. “, can we read on the website of the French Embassy in Prague.

After the Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999, he spent three years in the regional command of the Alliance in the Netherlands.

He then obtained a master's degree in international relations at King's College London before becoming chief of staff of the Czech army.

In 2015, the man who is married to a soldier was appointed head of NATO's military command.

He retired from the army three years later.

Read alsoEU Presidency: Prague succeeds France this Friday, at a time of “bad weather” in Europe

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Petr Pavel founded the 'Stronger Together' initiative to manage various crises and help people in need.

Among other pledges, Petr Pavel vowed to be an independent president, uninfluenced by party politics, to continue supporting aid to war-torn Ukraine, and to support kyiv's bid for membership of the EU.

With a neatly trimmed white beard and white hair, the 60-year-old rarely smiled during the campaign, which was acrimonious and marked by controversy, including over Ukraine.

The campaign between the two rounds was bitter, with a wave of disinformation widely targeting him and death threats targeting his rival, former Prime Minister Andrej Babis, nicknamed "the Czech Trump", and his family. .

"His indisputable advantage is that he looks very charismatic, has a good bearing, even when he is content to stand and say nothing," said independent political analyst Jan Kubacek.

Source: leparis

All news articles on 2023-01-28

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