Pavel edges Babis in first round of Czech presidential vote

Jan 14, 2023, 7:37 AM | Updated: 6:30 pm

Presidential candidate Petr Pavel addresses media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

(AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

PRAGUE (AP) — Retired army Gen. Petr Pavel narrowly defeated populist billionaire Andrej Babis in the first round of the Czech presidential election to set up a runoff vote between the political newcomer and the former prime minister.

Pavel and Babis advanced to a second round of voting because none of the eight candidates seeking the country’s largely ceremonial presidency received a majority of votes in the initial round, which was held on Friday and Saturday.

With the ballots from 99.9% of the polling statins counted by the Czech Statistics Office, Pavel had 35.39% of the vote compared with 35.00% for Babis.

“It’s such a close result that I can already see the hard work for us ahead of the second round,” Pavel said. “Every vote will count.”

Pavel is a former chairman of NATO’s military committee, the alliance’s highest military body,

He fully endorsed the country’s military and humanitarian support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia and sees the Czech Republic’s future linked to membership in the European Union and NATO.

Babis said he was delighted with the result, which was more than the 27.1% that his centrist ANO (YES) movement received in the 2021 general election.

“It’s absolutely great,” he said.

Babis congratulated Pavel on his victory, but immediately went on the attack against his opponent.

“I don’t understand why he’s running,” he said, stressing Pavel’s past as a soldier and a Communist Party member.

The Slovakia-born Babis was, however, a member of the Communist Party before the 1989 Velvet Revolution that brought in democracy and faces accusations of cooperating with the communist-era secret police in his native country.

Another of Babis’ challengers, Danuse Nerudova, who was rector of Mendel University in Brno, finished third with 13.9%, while conservative former diplomat Pavel Fischer was fourth with 6.8%.

Both Nerudova and Fischer pledged support for Pavel in the runoff in two weeks.

Czechs are picking a successor to Milos Zeman whose second and final term expires in March.

Voter turnout was 68.2%, more than 61.9% in the previous 2018 vote.

Under the Czech Constitution, the president picks the prime minister after a general election, one of the office’s key responsibilities.

The president also appoints members of the Central Bank board and selects Constitutional Court judges with the approval of Parliament’s upper house.

Otherwise, the president has little executive power since the country is run by a government chosen and led by the prime minister.

Babis, 68, was acquitted this week in a fraud trial, which boosted his chances in the election.

A court in Prague acquitted him on Monday of fraud charges in a $2 million case involving EU subsidies. The prosecution can still appeal. Babis had pleaded not guilty and repeatedly said the charges against him were politically motivated.

Despite a number of scandals, his popular support remains strong, particularly among older voters.

Babis ended up in opposition after losing the 2021 general election. He’s supported by Zeman, with whom he shares euroskeptic views and the habit of using anti-migrant rhetoric.

During his campaign, Babis tended to avoid the subject of the war in Ukraine, saying he wants to focus on domestic issues, including high inflation for which he blames the current five-party ruling coalition led by conservative Prime Minister Petr Fiala. He also said he’d like to organize an international summit about peace in Ukraine in Prague if he’s elected.

Zeman was the first president elected by popular vote. His second and final five-year term expires in March.

Lawmakers elected the previous two presidents, Vaclav Havel and Vaclav Klaus.

The websites of the Statistics Office and the one it uses to release election results were under DDoS cyber attacks from a pro-Russia group, the Avast antivirus company said. The results were still available.

Voting in the Czech presidential election at the Czech Embassy in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, had to be interrupted for an hour because of a Russian missile attack earlier on Saturday, the Czech Foreign Ministry said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel addresses media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Czech Presidential candidate Danuse Nerudova waves to her supporters during a press conference after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. Her husband Robert Neruda, right, and sons Daniel, left, and Filip, rear, look on. (Michal Kamaryt/CTK via AP)
            
              Czech Presidential candidate Danuse Nerudova and her husband Robert Neruda attend a press conference after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (Michal Kamaryt/CTK via AP)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives to address media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel accompanied with is wife Eva arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis accompanied with his wife Monika arrives to address media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis accompanied with his wife Monika arrives to address media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis addresses media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel addresses media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel addresses media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Czech Presidential candidate Danuse Nerudova waves to her supporters during a press conference after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. Her husband Robert Neruda, right, and sons Daniel, left, and Filip, rear, look on. (Michal Kamaryt/CTK via AP)
            
              Czech Presidential candidate Danuse Nerudova and her husband Robert Neruda attend a press conference after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (Michal Kamaryt/CTK via AP)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives to address media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel accompanied with is wife Eva arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis accompanied with his wife Monika arrives to address media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis accompanied with his wife Monika arrives to address media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis addresses media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel addresses media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel addresses media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Czech Presidential candidate Danuse Nerudova waves to her supporters during a press conference after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. Her husband Robert Neruda, right, and sons Daniel, left, and Filip, rear, look on. (Michal Kamaryt/CTK via AP)
            
              Czech Presidential candidate Danuse Nerudova and her husband Robert Neruda attend a press conference after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (Michal Kamaryt/CTK via AP)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives to address media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel accompanied with is wife Eva arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis accompanied with his wife Monika arrives to address media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis accompanied with his wife Monika arrives to address media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis addresses media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel addresses media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel addresses media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Czech Presidential candidate Danuse Nerudova waves to her supporters during a press conference after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. Her husband Robert Neruda, right, and sons Daniel, left, and Filip, rear, look on. (Michal Kamaryt/CTK via AP)
            
              Czech Presidential candidate Danuse Nerudova and her husband Robert Neruda attend a press conference after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (Michal Kamaryt/CTK via AP)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives to address media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel accompanied with is wife Eva arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis accompanied with his wife Monika arrives to address media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis accompanied with his wife Monika arrives to address media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis addresses media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel addresses media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel addresses media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Czech Presidential candidate Danuse Nerudova waves to her supporters during a press conference after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. Her husband Robert Neruda, right, and sons Daniel, left, and Filip, rear, look on. (Michal Kamaryt/CTK via AP)
            
              Czech Presidential candidate Danuse Nerudova and her husband Robert Neruda attend a press conference after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (Michal Kamaryt/CTK via AP)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives to address media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel accompanied with is wife Eva arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis accompanied with his wife Monika arrives to address media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis accompanied with his wife Monika arrives to address media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis addresses media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel addresses media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel addresses media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Czech Presidential candidate Danuse Nerudova waves to her supporters during a press conference after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. Her husband Robert Neruda, right, and sons Daniel, left, and Filip, rear, look on. (Michal Kamaryt/CTK via AP)
            
              Czech Presidential candidate Danuse Nerudova and her husband Robert Neruda attend a press conference after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (Michal Kamaryt/CTK via AP)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives to address media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel accompanied with is wife Eva arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis accompanied with his wife Monika arrives to address media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis accompanied with his wife Monika arrives to address media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis addresses media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel addresses media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel addresses media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Czech Presidential candidate Danuse Nerudova waves to her supporters during a press conference after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. Her husband Robert Neruda, right, and sons Daniel, left, and Filip, rear, look on. (Michal Kamaryt/CTK via AP)
            
              Czech Presidential candidate Danuse Nerudova and her husband Robert Neruda attend a press conference after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (Michal Kamaryt/CTK via AP)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives to address media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel accompanied with is wife Eva arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis accompanied with his wife Monika arrives to address media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis accompanied with his wife Monika arrives to address media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis addresses media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel addresses media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel addresses media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Czech Presidential candidate Danuse Nerudova waves to her supporters during a press conference after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. Her husband Robert Neruda, right, and sons Daniel, left, and Filip, rear, look on. (Michal Kamaryt/CTK via AP)
            
              Czech Presidential candidate Danuse Nerudova and her husband Robert Neruda attend a press conference after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (Michal Kamaryt/CTK via AP)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives to address media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel accompanied with is wife Eva arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis accompanied with his wife Monika arrives to address media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis accompanied with his wife Monika arrives to address media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis addresses media after the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives at his election headquarters to address the preliminary results of the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel addresses media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives to address media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives to address media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives to address media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives to address media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives to address media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives to address media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Presidential candidate Petr Pavel arrives to address media after announcement of the preliminary results for the first round of presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Journalists react as presidential candidate Petr Pavel leaves a polling station after voting in the first round of presidential election in Cernoucek, Czech Republic, Friday, Jan 13, 2023. Czechs have started voting for a new president, with populist billionaire Andrej Babis leading a field of eight candidates in an election to succeed Milos Zeman in the largely ceremonial post. (Ondrej Hajek/CTK via AP)
            
              Czech Presidential Candidate Danuse Nerudova casts her vote in the first round of the presidential election, in Kurim, Czech Republic, Friday Jan. 13, 2023. (Patrik Uhlir/CTK via AP)
            
              Presidential candidate Andrej Babis talks to media after casting a vote during the first round of presidential election in Pruhonice, Czech Republic, Friday, Jan. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

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Pavel edges Babis in first round of Czech presidential vote