Thursday, 13 August 2020

Presidential poll first round due on January 12-13

24 August 2017

Prague, Aug 23 (CTK) - The first round of the Czech direct presidential election will take place on January 12-13, 2018, Senate chairman Milan Stech, who has set the election date, announced on Wednesday.

The expected second round runoff will follow on January 26-27.

The deadline for the contenders to submit their official registration is November 7.

Incumbent President Milos Zeman will seek re-election for another five-year term.

His rivals will include former Science Academy head Jiri Drahos and businessman and lyricist Michal Horacek, who, like Zeman, have gathered more than 50,000 signatures of people, which are required for a civic nomination.

Candidacy is also being pondered by Senate deputy chairman Jaroslav Kubera (Civic Democrats, ODS), who has already gathered the necessary support of lawmakers, as has Karel Stogl, head of former interim PM Jiri Rusnok's office.

Stech said he set the election date earlier than before the previous elections held in January 2013.

He did so because candidates for president have mushroomed and the election campaign has actually been underway.

Another reason is the recent establishment of a new office for supervising political parties' financial management. Once the election date is set, the office can start checking the candidates' revenues and spending, Stech said.

The law bound Stech to declare the presidential election date 90 days beforehand at the latest. He did so some seven weeks earlier on Wednesday.

In a press release, he wrote that he also took into account the position of the Interior Ministry, which organises the election. "I chose the date so that neither the first nor the possible second election round coincide with [winter] school holidays," Stech wrote.

To be registered, a presidential candidate has to submit at least 50,000 people's signatures or signatures of 10 Senators or 20 deputies.

Apart from the above potential contenders, candidacy has been announced by Skoda Auto company's former head Vratislav Kulhanek (for the Civic Democratic Alliance, ODA), Defence Industry Association head Jiri Hynek (for the Realists), physician Marek Hilser, businessman Igor Sladek, politician Miroslav Sladek, former lawmaker Otto Chaloupka (for the Republic party), musician Petr Hannig (for the Sensible party) and actress Jana Yngland Hruskova, the only female contender so far.

Once Stech's decision on the election date is officially published in the law gazette, the presidential campaign officially begins. Each of the candidates may spend maximally 40 million crowns on the campaign, and further 10 million may be spent by each of the two candidates who might advance to the second round if no one emerged victorious from the first round.

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