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Court: All nine candidates to run for Czech president

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Brno, Dec 13 (CTK) – All nine candidates, registered by the Interior Ministry, will run for Czech president in January as the Supreme Administrative Court (NSS) has rejected a complaint by Terezie Holovska for formal shortcomings, the court announced on Wednesday.

Holovska has questioned five candidates since some of deputies and senators who signed their bids supported more candidates by their signatures.

The court turned down her suggestion, but it criticised the Interior Ministry’s legal opinion and said each deputy or senator must support just one candidate in the future.

The Interior Ministry previously said it did not consider the duplicity of signatures a legal problem.

Most presidential candidates expected the court’s decision and welcomed it, they told CTK on Wednesday.

Judge rapporteur Josef Baxa pointed to a long constitutional practice. Never in the modern Czech history, a legislator proposed more candidates for president, he said.

Besides, were there no limits for their signatures, legislators could send a very high number of candidates to the presidential contest.

Court panel chairman Tomas Langasek said the State Electoral Commission can continue with the preparation of the January direct presidential election.

However, Holovska, one of the 11 rejected presidential candidates, may file a constitutional complaint.

Holovska proposed the abolition of the registration of Petr Hannig, Marek Hilser, Jiri Hynek, Vratislav Kulhanek and Mirek Topolanek due to the duplicity of the lawmakers’ signatures on their bids.

During the first direct presidential election in 2013, the Interior Ministry ruled that deputies and senators can support just one candidate each, which was rational, Holovska argued.

The court turned down Holovska’s complaint since she did not demand her own registration for the election, but only questioned the presidential bids of other candidates.

The first round of the presidential election will be held on January 12-13, 2018, and a possible second round two weeks later.

Nine men will compete for head of state in January. Along with incumbent President Milos Zeman, the official candidates are former Science Academy chairman Jiri Drahos, businessman and lyricist Michal Horacek, former Civic Democrat (ODS) chairman and ex-PM Topolanek, Skoda Auto former board chairman Kulhanek (Civic Democratic Alliance, ODA), Defence and Security Industry Association President Hynek (Realists party), musician and producer Hannig, head of the marginal Reasonable party, physician and activist Hilser and former ambassador to France Pavel Fischer.

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