Czech elections: Police investigating bizarre texts allegedly sent by candidate Petr Pavel

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By Sophia Khatsenkova
Petr Pavel has slammed the text messages calling them fake news
Petr Pavel has slammed the text messages calling them fake news   -   Copyright  Petr David Josek/AP

Police in the Czech Republic are investigating bizarre text messages that have allegedly been sent from retired army general and presidential candidate Petr Pavel.

Pavel beat billionaire Andrej Babiš in the first round of the Czech presidential election last weekend. 

The messages say "Thank you for voting in the first round of the presidential elections for Petr Pavel. Please now report to the nearest branch of the Armed Forces, where you will receive the necessary weapons for mobilization to Ukraine."

The police are asking anyone who has received these messages to report them immediately. 

It’s still unclear who is behind this campaign and who these texts have been sent to, but Pavel has denied they're from him and instead accused Babiš's camp of being behind it. 

These messages come after weeks of accusations from the opposition claiming that if elected, Pavel will drag the country into a war against Russia

His main opponent Andrej Babiš put up billboards suggesting that the Czech Republic will be dragged into a full-scale war.

"I will not drag Czech Republic into the war. I am a diplomat. Not a soldier,” says the billboard.

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

He has fully endorsed the country’s military and humanitarian support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia. 

But the retired general has responded to the billboards by saying that no war is started by soldiers, but by politicians and that these messages are clearly fake. 

Moreover, many experts have debunked Babiš' claims that Pavel could start a war with Russia.

Jan Kysela, a constitutional law expert explained on Facebook that the President of the Czech Republic does not have the power to declare war. This decision falls on both chambers of the Parliament.

"Neither our constitutional order nor the legal order as such confers on the President of the Republic any powers with which he could "drag" the Czech Republic into war, even if he wished to do so," concludes Kysela. 

The second round of the presidential elections will take place on January 27 and 28. And both candidates have said that neither of them expects a fair fight from their opponent.