Thousands gather in Prague's Old Town in support of presidential candidate Pavel

Pavel supporters were treated to posters and pancakes; supporters for Pavel's opponent Andrej Babiš were also present at Wednesday's event.


Written by ČTK Published on 26.01.2023 09:57:00 (updated on 26.01.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Thousands of people descended on the Czech capital’s Old Town Square early Wednesday evening in a final show of support for presidential candidate Petr Pavel ahead of this weekend’s vote.

Pavel gave a speech, telling his supporters that he is running on a platform of dignity, decency, and truth, reports ČTK. Pavel said that his political opponent Andrej Babiš's lies and fear tactics aren’t what the country needs and encouraged people to come to the polls.

"Elections cannot be won in opinion polls. It is the electoral votes that win the elections," the retired general told reporters earlier on Wednesday.

The presidential hopeful also called upon voters to cooperate and avoid conflicts. Following the speech, the crowd chanted: "Pavel to the Castle."

Drummers with red T-shirts reading "General" opened the program as Pavel and his wife welcomed attendees.

Former presidential candidates Danuše Nerudová, Pavel Fischer, and Marek Hilšer, who were also in attendance, called on voters to turn up at the polls this weekend.

Well-known Czech personalities including writer and actor Zdeněk Svěrák, singer Barbora Poláková, actor Jiří Mádl, hockey player Tomáš Plekanec and tennis player Barbora Šafářová gave brief speeches in support of Pavel.

Supporters held aloft banners reading “Pavel to the Castle,” and “All for the Truth”. Czech and NATO flags could be seen in the crowd as well.

Supporters of Pavel's second-round opponent ANO chairman and former prime minister Andrej Babiš, also attended the rally, one of them holding a poster criticizing General Pavel’s past associations with the communist party.

The event ended around 6 p.m. with the crowd singing in unison.

Pavel had initially canceled his Monday and Tuesday schedule due to illness. Following the event, he participated in a debate with his opponent Babiš on CNN Prima. A Thursday debate is planned for Nova TV and a final debate will be broadcast on Czech Radio Friday.

The runoff election will be held on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27-28. According to the opinion polls released on Monday, Pavel is the frontrunner.

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