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Michal Horáček announces his bid for Czech president

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Prague, Nov 3 (CTK) – Lyricist and former businessman Michal Horacek will run in the direct Czech presidential election scheduled for the early 2018, he told a press conference on Thursday.

He said he wants to pay the campaign himself and be a candidate that would not be linked with any political party.

“I believe that the presidential post can be performed in a more decent and more competent way and be more open to people of all opinions than it has been done so far,” Horacek says in a booklet presenting his presidential bid.

However, Horacek did not want to criticise President Milos Zeman. “I am not running against other people. I am running to do something. To show more respect for the ideas I have presented,” he said.

Horacek said Slovak President Andrej Kiska is an inspiration for him.

Kiska, a businessman and philanthropist with any previous political career, beat Prime Minister Robert Fico in the presidential election in 2014.

Zeman, 72, did not say whether he would seek re-election. He plans to announce his decision next March.

Horacek presents nine main spheres of his programme in his booklet.

“The starting point is that the Czech Republic is part of a broader region, especially of the European Union and NATO. We have our alliances, we must be good allies, not fare dodgers,” he said.

He said he plans his campaign to be “radically transparent,” adding that he will submit his property statement, report on his health condition, presentation of his performance at university, and his screening certificate, proving that he did not cooperate with the former secret police during the Czechoslovak communist regime.

Horacek said he has a special bank account for the campaign that will be transparent.

He said neither any advertising agency nor any spokesman would represent him. He said he plans to lead his campaign without any donations, he will not raise money from parties or individuals.

In an interview with news service, Horacek said his property is worth about 400 million crowns. He said he would respect the ceiling set on the spending on the campaign at 50 million crowns.

Horacek said he is seeking volunteers who would start helping him collect signatures under his candidature after it becomes clear if any changes in the law on the presidential election would be made.

At present, a presidential bid needs to be supported by 50,000 people, or it may be proposed by a group of lawmakers. Horacek said his bid would have no point if he was unable to win 50,000 signatures.

He said he has been considering running for president since April.

Horacek, 64, has never been a member of any political party. During the communist era, he did various odd jobs, including an illegal bookmaker at a Prague horse racecourse. In 1989, he was actively involved in the negotiations between representatives of the democratic opposition and the outgoing communist government.

In 1990, he was one of the founders of the Fortuna betting company. In 2004, the Penta investment group bought Fortuna from them. The price of the contract was not released, but media speculated that it was 100 million dollars.

Horacek is the author of the texts of many Czech songs that have become popular. He cooperated with composer Petr Hapka.

Two other Czechs announced their presidential bid so far, businessman Igor Sladek and activist Marek Hilser, but both seem to be marginal figures who will not advance to the presidential runoff.

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