New Czech President Expected to Foster EU, Ukraine Ties

The newly-elected Czech president, Petr Pavel said he would be a president for all citizens and would work hard to deliver on his promises.

The future president, who will be sworn in on March 9, will be meeting with political leaders in the coming days as he prepares to take office.

Pavel’s experience in military diplomacy would be a clear asset as he held a very different presidency than his predecessor.

“We know that his contacts at NATO, as well as with peers from NATO member states… are very strong, and foreign policy will be his domain,” said Pavel Havlicek, a scientist at the Association for International Affairs in Prague.

“I think he will be a proficient president if we realise the war in Ukraine is one of the key problems Europe is facing,” added Havlicek.

He also called for more aid to Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia in February last year.

“He is very much in favour of Ukraine, he has repeatedly voiced his support, and he’s very critical towards Russia,” said Jiri Pehe, a political analyst at New York University Prague.

“His stance will entail strong support to Ukraine without any conditions,” Pehe said.

Pavel had already discussed a possible joint trip to Kyiv with Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová.

What are his political views?

Pavel ran as an independent and was the strongest of the three candidates backed by the liberal-conservative coalition SPOLU of now-former President Miloš Zeman.

He has argued for better redistribution of wealth and greater taxation of the rich while supporting progressive policies on issues such as same-sex marriage and euthanasia.

“The main issue at stake is whether chaos and populism will continue to rein or we return to observing rules… and we will be a reliable country for our allies,” he said after narrowly winning the first election round.

Often sporting jeans and a leather jacket, Pavel is a polyglot, speaking Czech, English, French and Russian, and loves motorcycling.

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