Thursday, 17 April 2014

Okamura to file complaint with Constitutional Court

18 December 2012

Prague, Dec 17 (CTK) - Czech senator Tomio Okamura, whose elimination as a candidate in the direct presidential election was confirmed by the Supreme Administrative Court (NSS) last week, will file a complaint against the step with the Constitutional Court (US) after Christmas, he said yesterday.

Businessman Vladimir Dlouhy, another candidate who was eliminated in spite of having submitted the required 50,000 signatures of voters, said he would not challenge his elimination at the US for now.

He said he would consider lodging a complaint if the elections were postponed for some reason.

Experts, including US chairman Pavel Rychetsky, previously said candidates' complaints would threaten January 11-12 as the date of the first round of the presidential polls.

US spokeswoman Jana Pelcova yesterday said the US would try to decide quickly.

She said it is impossible to anticipate whether the US will really decide on the election's postponement, because it is not clear what the complainants' arguments will be.

Okamura told journalists he minds NSS judge Vojtech Simicek casting doubt on the authenticity of some signatures on the petition sheets his election team submitted as a condition for him to run for president.

This amounts to the state "trampling down" citizens' right to nominate their own presidential candidate, Okamura said.

"I am faced with two possibilities: either to give in and bear the accusation of having forged the petition sheets, or to defend myself along with the tens of thousands of people who expressed trust in me by signing [the petition]," Okamura said.

"I'm left with no other possibility but to ask the US to decide whether my position is rightful or that of the state, which, in my opinion, tramples down citizens' rights," Okamura said.

Dlouhy, like Okamura, said he believes his petition was signed by more than 50,000 real supporters. He said he, too, could turn to the US.

"Nevertheless, I've decided not to lodge the complaint, mainly because I'm convinced that the best for our country is that the direct presidential election be held according to the planned schedule," Dlouhy told journalists.

If the election were postponed for other reasons, he would consider filing a complaint with the US, he added.

Okamura's defence lawyer Klara Samkova said the NSS, with its recent "verdict full of contradictions" that confirmed his elimination from the presidential contest, provided enough arguments for challenging it.

Samkova submitted a presidential candidacy of her own, which was also rejected by the Interior Ministry and then by the NSS.

Unlike Okamura and Dlouhy, however, Samkova did not submit the required number of signatures. Nevertheless, she said she considers the law on presidential election unconstitutional and will challenge it at the US.

Of the three "serious" candidates with 50,000 signatures, the NSS on Thursday returned only one to the contest - Sovereignty party chairwoman Jana Bobosikova, thus raising the number of registered candidates to nine.

The NSS stated that the Interior Ministry previously used a wrong method to count the number of invalid signatures on candidates' petitions. However, if the correct method were applied, Okamura and Dlouhy still would not reach the necessary number of 50,000 valid signatures, while Bobosikova would, the NSS said in a verdict that the panel of judges passed by a narrow majority of votes.

Especially in the case of Okamura, the NSS pointed to a high portion of invalid signatures on his sheets,

"In the case of Mr Okamura, there were whole petition sheets fabricated, [all signatures on them] written by one hand," said Simicek, head of the NSS panel of judges.

The Czechs are to choose the next president directly for the first time in January. So far Czech president has been elected jointly by the two houses of parliament. The incumbent President Vaclav Klaus's second and last possible term expires in early March.

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