Sunday, 19 November 2017

Twelve candidates getting ready to run for Czech president

ČTK |
1 November 2017

Prague, Oct 31 (CTK) - Twelve people have taken major steps to run for Czech president in the January direct election, in which businessman Michal Horacek and former Science Academy head Jiri Drahos are considered the most serious rivals of incumbent President Milos Zeman who will be defending his post.

The deadline for applying with the Interior Ministry to get listed as an official presidential candidate expires next Tuesday, November 7. The first round of the election will be held on January 12-13, 2018. Unless one of the candidates wins a majority, the two most successful will meet in the runoff two weeks later.

To join the competition for the head of state, a person needs to win support for their candidacy from either 50,000 citizens, 20 members of the lower house or 10 senators.

Drahos, Horacek and Zeman have already collected more than 50,000 signatures from people.

The office supervising the financing of parties, which also checks the presidential campaigns, has released the transparent accounts of 11 candidates so far. The account of diplomat Pavel Fischer, who said he won sufficient support from senators, is still missing. According to Jiri Navratil, from the office, two of the candidates still need to provide some required data.

The Interior Ministry has received seven applications for registration. Four of the candidates are nominated by lower house members and one by senators. Two candidates did not support their bid with the required support from voters or lawmakers, Klara Peknicova, from the ministry's press section, told CTK, adding that no names can be released.

Skoda Auto car maker ex-chief Vratislav Kulhanek, arms industry association's head Jiri Hynek and marginal party chairman Petr Hannig announced that they won sufficient support from lawmakers.

Doctor and activist Marek Hilser keeps collecting signatures under his petition even on Tuesday.

Drahos gathered over 115,000 signatures, Lenka Pastorcakova from his election team said. Horacek collected over 80,000 signatures, his spokesman Jiri Taborsky said. Zeman had about 60,000 signatures in August, said his wife who heads his petition committee.

Former MP Otto Chaloupka believes to win the required support from lawmakers by next Tuesday, he told CTK.

Among those having transparent accounts are businessman Daniel Masopust, Ivan Smetana and Jitka Albrechtova. But Albrechtova said she does not plan to run for president because she has not gained enough signatures in support of her candidacy.

Entrepreneur Vladimir Bostik, local politician Terezie Holovska and former Government Office head Karel Stogl also said they want to run in the presidential election.

Stogl said senators would support his bid. Holovska told Tuesday's daily Lidove noviny (LN) that she would try to persuade lawmakers to enable her candidacy, hoping that especially women would give her support.

In the past few months, businessman Igor Sladek, singer Jana Yngland Hruskova, analyst Josef Toman, teacher Milan Kohout, athlete Miroslav Frajbis and sculptor Emil Adamec. Some of them admitted that they used the candidacy as an opportunity to promote their views.

Far-right politician Miroslav Sladek said he gave up running for president after his Republican party failed in the recent general election.

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