Monday, 21 April 2014

Supreme Court receives 9 complaints over presidential election

ČTK |
29 November 2012

Brno, Nov 28 (CTK) - The Czech Supreme Administrative Court (NSS) has received nine complaints linked to the January presidential election, including from all three serious candidates who were previously eliminated from the contest - Tomio Okamura, Vladimir Dlouhy and Jana Bobosikova.

Okamura, a senator and businessman, filed a complaint with the NSS on Tuesday, while Dlouhy, an economist and former industry minister, and Bobosikova, head of the Sovereignty party, did so before the deadline expired at 16:00 yesterday, NSS spokeswoman Sylva Dostalova said.

All of them want the NSS to return them to the contest for the presidential post.

A total of twenty persons previously applied for registration as candidates in the direct presidential election.

The candidacies of eleven were spoken of as "serious," i.e. supported by either 20 deputies, 10 senators or petitions signed by at least 50,000 citizens.

Last week, the Interior Ministry said it has registered eight candidates. It said it has eliminated Okamura, Dlouhy and Bobosikova from the contest because after assessing the number of invalid data, the number of signatures on their petitions dropped below the required 50,000.

Dlouhy challenged the assessment method applied by the ministry. If a different method were applied, the number of valid signatures of his supporters would be 53,000, he told journalists yesterday.

Okamura and Bobosikova face the same problem.

The ministry assessed as invalid the signatures that appeared more times on the petitions or whose bearers do not figure in the register of inhabitants, who are not adult or do not have Czech citizenship.

A number of "signatures" were those of deceased people.

The ministry came under strong criticism for calculating the portion of invalid signatures based on added-up numbers of such signatures on two samples taken from each candidate's petition.

Bobosikova said she shares experts' opinion that the numbers of invalid signatures in both samples should have been averaged. If so, she would be left with 50,810 valid signatures and be eligible for registration as presidential candidate, according to her and some experts.

On Monday, the NSS received complaints from other contenders, who, however, evidently failed to meet the required candidacy criteria, such as businessman Jiri Kesner (two complaints), lawyer Klara Samkova, former dissident Petr Cibulka, lawyer Karel Svetnicka and Anna Kasna, a resident of north Moravia.

The seven-member NSS panel of judges, headed by Vojtech Simicek, has to decide on all complaints by December 13.

Afterwards the complainants can further turn to the Constitutional Court (US), which, however, is not bound by any deadline in its decision making.

The first round of the direct presidential election is due on January 11-12, 2013.

The second and last possible five-year mandate of the incumbent president, Vaclav Klaus, expires on March 7.

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