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Presidential candidates present aides, seek voter support

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Prague, Jan 8 (CTK) – Czech presidential candidate Jiri Drahos, former Science Academy chairman, introduced his possible aides at the president’s office, while another candidate, businessman and lyricist Michal Horacek, called on Praguers to vote for him at their press conferences on Monday.

If Drahos were elected head of state, his advisers would be State Office for Nuclear Safety (SUJB) head Dana Drabova, former ambassador Petr Kolar, astronomer Jiri Grygar, Egyptologist Miroslav Barta, Air Traffic Control director Jan Klas, writer and publisher Jiri Padevet and Prague Life Sciences University new Rector Petr Sklenicka, Drahos told reporters, presenting 13 experts on Monday.

Some of them were his advisers during the election campaign.

They should replace, for instance, Martin Nejedly, adviser to current President Milos Zeman, whom Zeman’s opponents criticise for his former relations to Russian business.

Zeman seeks re-election.

Drahos said that as a scientist he was aware that no one can know all from all fields, which Zeman was awkwardly pretending. “I do not intend to do this,” he said.

Horacek called on Prague inhabitants to vote tactically and not to split their “anti-Zeman” votes in the upcoming presidential election. He also asked them for support.

Horacek and his team claims that he enjoys the highest support in the regions, according to polls, and is able to defeat Zeman.

The chances are rising with a higher turnout, he added.

The latest polls show that Horacek would fare third after Zeman and Drahos in the first round.

Horacek’s team says, the polls conducted by the Kantar TNS, Median and G82 agencies show that 86 percent know Horacek and 71 percent know Drahos. In villages and smaller towns with under 100,000 inhabitants, 37 percent would vote for Zeman, 17 percent for Horacek and 13 percent for Drahos.

Horacek also said on Monday that if he did not advance to the second round, he would support any candidate running against Zeman in the runoff vote.

Horacek has collected 86,940 signatures for his presidential bid and he has 81,500 fans on Facebook. His campaign video has been seen online 4.6 million times.

According to the Transparency International corruption watchdog’s analysis, Horacek has the most transparent election campaign out of the candidates, while the funding of Zeman’s campaign is the least transparent.

Along with Drahos, Horacek and Zeman, former Civic Democrat (ODS) chairman and ex-PM Mirek Topolanek, physician and activist Marek Hilser, former ambassador to France Pavel Fischer, Skoda Auto former board chairman Vladimir Kulhanek, Defence and Security Industry Association President Jiri Hynek and musician and producer Petr Hannig are running for president.

The first round of the direct presidential election will be held on January 12-13. If none of the candidates wins an absolute majority of the vote, the second round, to which two candidates with the strongest support will advance, will take place two weeks later.

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