Weekend headlines: Petr Pavel leads latest Czech election polls

Plus: Tennis star Jiří Lehečka makes Australian Open quarterfinals, Prague police detain anti-government protester, and more headlines.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 21.01.2023 09:57:00 (updated on 22.01.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

Election 2023 Petr Pavel leads latest polls ahead of presidential election

Retired NATO general Petr Pavel would win next weekend's presidential election with 57.6 percent of the vote compared to former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš with 42.4 percent, according to the latest poll conducted by STEM for CNN Prima News. Voter turnout would be around 68 percent according to the poll, roughly equivalent to the first round of the election last weekend.

A separate poll released by Czech Television yesterday also favors a victory by Pavel. The poll, conducted by Data Collect and Kantar CZ, revealed that 46 percent of respondents would "definitely" vote for Pavel, while only 29 percent of respondents said the same of Babiš.

Sports Jiří Lehečka advances to Australian Open quarterfinals

Czech tennis star Jiří Lehečka has advance to the Australian Open quarterfinals after topping Canada's Félix Auger-Aliassim 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, 7-6 in a hard-fought match on Sunday morning. Compatriot Barbora Krejčíková failed in her attempt to make the quarterfinals, losing to American Jessica Pegula in straight sets 5-7, 2-6.

Lehečka has become the first Czech to reach the men's quarterfinals at the Australian Open since Tomáš Berdych in 2018. He'll next face the winner of the match between Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas and Italy's Jannik Sinner. Linda Fruhvirtová and Karolína Plíšková will compete to advance to the women's quarterfinals on Monday morning.

Election 2023 Pavel debunks fake video circulating online

Czech presidential candidate Petr Pavel has drawn attention to a fake video circulating online purporting to show the retired general supporting a war between the Czech Republic and Russia. The video has been edited to show a Pavel stating that he supports Czech aggression against Russia. The candidate shared the original, unedited video to debunk it.

"There is a fake video circulating on the Internet, Pavel wrote on his Twitter account. "Look at the original, how I answered questions posed by a lady in Ostrava. At the end, you will see how they edited my answers. But lies and manipulation will not win in these elections."

Crime Prague Police detain anti-government protest leader

Ladislav Vrabel, who is behind the 'Czech Republic First' group that has held a series of anti-government protests in Prague, has been detained by police in Prague on charges of maliciously spreading false information online. The charge relates to video posted by Vrabel in November, in which he states "our government wants to attack the Russian Federation with nuclear warheads from fighter jets."

Police did not identify Vrabel by name, but stated that a man of his age was detained following a protest attended by hundreds in Prague yesterday. Fellow Czech Republic First member Patrik Pečénka confirmed on social media that Vrabel had been detained. "There is no more information, I only know that Láďa has been detained," Pečénka writes.

Saturday, January 22, 2023

ELECTION 2023 Babiš: "My family is afraid for their lives"

The wife of Czech presidential candidate Andrej Babiš reportedly received an anonymous threat in the form of a bullet inside an envelope, the former Prime Minister told journalists and supporters during a press conference on Saturday afternoon.

"This morning, security handed me an envelope addressed to my wife Monica, which contained a live bullet and an anonymous note full of insults," Babiš claimed. "I immediately contacted the police, who are investigating the matter and whom I thank for their immediate response. I see it as a threat to my family, the most precious thing I have in the world. My family is afraid for their lives."

Weather Snowfall blankets Czech Republic, including Prague

Most areas of the Czech Republic, including Prague, saw a light blanket of snowfall heading into the weekend, and additional snow is expected to fall in some regions later today. The Zlín region saw the heaviest amount of snowfall this morning, with up to 20 centimeters reported overnight.

In Northern Bohemia, roads near the Czech Republic's border with Poland will close at 12:00 p.m. today in anticipation of heavy snowfall in the area. In Prague and the Central Bohemian region, roads are passable this morning with reduced visibility, and scattered snow showers are expected throughout the day.

Sports Two Czech tennis stars advance to sweet 16 at Australian Open

Czech tennis stars Linda Fruhvirtová and Karolína Plíšková have advanced to the sweet sixteen at this year's Australian Open. The 17 year-old Fruhvirtová defeated compatriot Markéta Vondroušová 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 on Saturday morning, while Plíšková topped Russia's Varvara Gracheva in straight sets 6-4, 6-2.

"My opponent beat some good players here, so I wanted to be ready. It was also the third round of a Grand Slam, so it's not easy, no matter who you're playing against. I think I played a good match," Plíšková told reporters after her match. Fruhvirtová is the second Czech teen to make a big splash in Australia in recent weeks; 18-year-old Linda Nosková made the final at the Adelaide International two weeks ago, but was eliminated from the Australian Open in the qualifying rounds.

Money Czech crown hits 14-year high against euro

The Czech crown continues to strengthen against foreign currency, and hit new 14-year high against the euro heading into the weekend, according to the latest exchange rates posted by Patria Online. The crown closed Friday at CZK 23.90/EUR, its highest peak since October 29, 2008.

The Czech crown also strengthened against the dollar on Friday, closing the day at CZK 22.05/USD, its highest rate since last March. Czech currency has been consistently rising in value since November, gaining a total of CZK 1.5 against the dollar and CZK 0.5 against the euro over that span.

Election 2023 Petr Pavel draws crowd of 8,000 people in Brno

An estimated 8,000 people came to see presidential candidate Petr Pavel speak outside Brno's Janáček Theater on Friday according to Kateřina Dobešová, a spokesperson for Brno Town Hall. Pavel addressed the recent campaign by his opponent Andrej Babiš, and urged voters to come to the polls and not be intimidated.

"It's a battle of two worlds," Pavel told the crowd. "The first, in which I feel at home along with the vast majority of you, is of courage and honor and dignity and telling the truth even when it's inconvenient. The other is a world full of lies, chaos, and conjuring fear that serves only those who benefit from it."

Election 2023 Andrej Babiš continues campaign in Liberec region

Supporters and opponents of Czech presidential candidate Andrej Babiš clashed on Friday in Liberec and Jablonec nad Nissou, but no physical altercations were reported during the former Prime Minister's stops in the Bohemian cities. Babiš is challenging retired NATO general Petr Pavel in the final round of the 2023 presidential election, which will be held next weekend.

Crowds surrounded Babiš at the Liberec railway station from 9:00 a.m., with both applause and boos heard alongside chants of "Babiš to Castle" and "Pavel to Castle." Tram tracks separated supporters and opponents, and the former PM greeted and sign autographs for those who had come out in support.

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