Prague — A retired army basic and previous senior NATO formal was sworn in Thursday as the Czech Republic’s new president, succeeding the controversy-courting Milos Zeman.

Petr Pavel took the formal oath in the course of a joint session of both equally homes of Parliament at Prague Castle, the seat of the presidency.

He was elected to the largely ceremonial but prestigious put up in a runoff vote on Jan 28, beating populist billionaire Andrej Babis.

Pavel, 61, ran as an unbiased in the election and is a previous chairman of NATO’s military services committee, the alliance’s greatest military entire body. His election is predicted to cement the country’s Western orientation.

His predecessor Zeman divided the nation with his pro-Russian stance and support for closer ties with China.

Pavel vowed to mend the division.

“We’re all experiencing the same issues and only together can we be successful in resolving them,” he said.

Zeman, whose second and remaining five-year phrase in business expired on Wednesday, was the very first president to have been directly elected by the persons. Lawmakers elected the country’s previous two presidents, Vaclav Havel and Vaclav Klaus.

On Thursday, Pavel unexpectedly unveiled a presidential flag with the motto “Truth Prevails” on a balcony. It had been stolen from the castle’s roof in 2015 by an arts team that changed it with a piece of large purple male underpants, in a jab at Zeman.

The underwear was supposed to symbolize Zeman’s shut relationships with Russia and China, and has considering that become a image for criticism of his presidency.

Then, the group explained it was a fitting flag “for a guy who is not ashamed of anything.” The members of the team reduce the initial flag into items and distributed them. It was not long ago renovated.

Pavel instructed a cheering group of hundreds the renovated flag is “a symbol of change” of his presidency.

Pavel has fully endorsed the Czech Republic’s armed service and humanitarian help for Ukraine in its combat towards Russia’s invasion and stresses the significance of the country’s European Union and NATO membership.

The president picks the key minister soon after a common election, appoints best officials at the central bank, and also selects Constitutional Court judges with the approval of Parliament’s upper property.

If not, the head of condition has little executive electricity because the region is operate by a authorities decided on and led by the primary minister.

Adhering to the inauguration, Pavel is setting up future week to go on his initial foreign excursion to neighboring Slovakia, which formed Czechoslovakia with his state until a tranquil split in 1993.

Kyiv and Warsaw are among the other overseas capitals he’s established to check out in the close to long term.

Pavel needs to satisfy Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a gesture of guidance for his nation. He will also find to assure his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda that the Czech Republic entirely respects its NATO commitments and the alliance’s principle of collective protection.

Babis, Zeman’s ally, had said in his campaign that he would not ship troops to Poland or the Baltic states if the NATO allies were attacked. He later on backtracked.


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