Former Czech army chief Petr Pavel, a strongly pro-Western candidate who backs aid for Ukraine, was on course to win the Czech Republic's presidential election as voting results came in on Saturday, APA reports citing Reuters.
Prime Minister Petr Fiala congratulated Pavel on securing victory after results from 87.9% of the country's voting districts had him leading the vote count with 56.9% to his rival Andrej Babis's 43.1%, according to the Czech Statistical Office.
Full results from the two-day run-off vote were expected later on Saturday.
A projection by news website www.seznamzpravy.cz showed Pavel beating former prime minister Babis with between 57.9% and 58.5% of the vote, while broadcaster CNN Prima News, using voting models from agencies STEM and STEM/MARK, also projected Pavel winning more than 58%.
Pavel, a 61-year-old retired general running for office for the first time, had campaigned as an independent and gained the backing of the centre-right government which ousted Babis from power in a 2021 parliamentary election.