Thursday, 24 April 2014

Presidential election's favourite gets more money

22 November 2012

Prague, Nov 21 (CTK) - Former Czech interim cabinet head Jan Fischer (unaffiliated) received further five million crowns for his presidential campaign from his biggest sponsor, steel and health magnate Tomas Chrenek, Pravo daily writes Wednesday.

Chrenek, one of the richest Czech entrepreneurs, already gave nine million crowns to Fischer in July.

This has been the highest donation within the campaign before the forthcoming direct election of Czech president so far.

Chrenek owns a network of clinics in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia and a majority stake in the Czech steelworks Trinecke zelezarny. He said previously he considers Fischer the most trustworthy candidate for president and he praised his performance in the post of prime minister of the Czech caretaker cabinet in 2009-2010.

Fischer, who is the election's favourite, had 3.25 million crowns on his transparent election account on Tuesday.

Opinion polls show that Fischer and former socialist prime minister Milos Zeman would advance to the second round of the presidential election.

Eleven candidates have probably met the conditions for running in the first round, according to preliminary information of the Interior Ministry that administers the registration process.

Zeman now has over one million crowns on his transparent account, TOP 09 leader and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has over four million crowns.

Senator Jiri Dienstbier, supported by the opposition Social Democrats (CSSD), has more than three million and senator Premysl Sobotka, fielded by the rival government Civic Democrats (ODS), gathered 730,000 crowns.

Candidates have been campaigning for a few months. Some of them, for example Zeman and Fischer, launched their campaign already in summer.

Under Czech law, candidates may spend up to 40 million in the first round and another 10 million in the second round. The first round will be held on January 11-12 and the possible second round on January 25-26, 2013. The mandate of incumbent President Vaclav Klaus will expire in March.

Before heading the interim cabinet, Fischer, 61, led the Czech Statistical Office for several years. After he announced his presidential candidacy, he left the post of vice-president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

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