Saturday, 18 November 2017

Strategist Josef Toman to run for Czech president

ČTK |
8 November 2017

Prague, Nov 7 (CTK) - Strategist Josef Toman has collected almost 75,000 signatures on his presidential bid, while at least 50,000 are needed, and he has sent his candidacy to the Czech Interior Ministry, he told CTK on Tuesday.

On the contrary, Ivan Smetana said he would not run for president.

Toman considers the 1992 division of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia unlawful, and consequently all developments in the Czech Republic since its establishment in 1993 illegitimate, including its NATO and EU entry.

The deadline for submitting applications to the Interior Ministry to get registered as presidential candidates expired at 16:0 on Tuesday.

The Interior Ministry will then assess whether the signatures on the presidential bids meet all necessary formalities.

So far 13 personalities have submitted their candidacies, but four of them have not added the verified signatures of at least 50,000 citizens or at least 20 deputies or ten senators in support of their candidacies yet.

The incumbent President Milos Zeman will seek re-election. He will compete with former Science Academy head Jiri Drahos, lyricist and businessman Michal Horacek, former ambassador to France Pavel Fischer, Security and Defence Industry Association head Jiri Hynek, Skoda Auto's former board chairman Vratislav Kulhanek, musician, extra-parliamentary politician Petr Hannig, physician and activist Marek Hilser. Former Civic Democrat (ODS) prime minister Mirek Topolanek announced his candidacy at the very last moment, gaining support of ten senators.

In the past few months, some 20 people expressed their interest in running for head of state, but some of them gave up the intention in the meantime.

Tomio Okamura, leader of the populist anti-immigration Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) party that fared fourth in the recent general election, decided not to contest presidency on Monday.

The Interior Ministry will release the names of the candidates on November 24 only after deciding on the admissibility of the candidacies. The office justifies the procedure by personal data protection.

The first round of the presidential election will be held on January 12-13, 2018. If none of the candidates wins an absolute majority of the vote, the second round will follow two weeks later.

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