Retired general and former NATO official Petr Pavel leads billionaire former Prime Minister Andrej Babis by a nearly 18-point margin ahead of this week’s presidential run-off

Pavel was polling at 58.8 percent to 41.2 percent for Babis in the survey conducted over the weekend and published on Monday.

Polls indicate former military official Petr Pavel will win out against scandal-hit former Prime Minister Andrej Babis.

Pavel, 61, an independent backed by the centre-right government, has projected a clear pro-Western policy stance and support for Ukraine in its defence against Russian aggression.

Babis, 68, has tried to label Pavel as a threat to peace and presented himself since the first round of the election on January 13 and 14 as a force against war.

Babis’s campaign posters declare, “I will not drag Czechia into a war” and “I am a diplomat. Not a soldier.”

Pavel has dismissed the suggestions as nonsense. Czech media have reported widespread anti-Pavel messaging on disinformation websites and chain emails.