Prague, Sept 14 (CTK) – Czech presidential candidate Michal Horacek proposes that the state relieve its debtors of the fines for debts in taxes as well as social and health insurance, he told reporters on Thursday.

However, this one-off general pardon would only apply to the fines and penalties imposed on individuals for the money they owe to the state, but not to the debts alone.

Horacek, lyricist and former successful businessman, 65, also said he was discussing this idea with political parties’ representatives.

The general pardon should be declared next year on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Czechoslovakia, he said.

“A number of such claims are irrecoverable anyway and these debts lasting for years prevent people from returning to the common economy so they are not able to pay taxes and the state thereby loses much money undoubtedly,” Horacek said.

He added that people often fell into debt traps for trivial reasons, for instance, if they forgot to pay to an authority or in the case of a delayed payment.

“It often happens that a petty little debt rises exorbitantly to unpayable high sums because of the penalty,” he said.

Horacek is convinced that his proposal will benefit many people and harm no one.

The finance and labour and social affairs ministers have the power to pardon debt penalties.

“I was discussing this idea with the leaders of political parties and they welcomed it,” Horacek said without elaborating.

He at the same time called on other presidential candidates, who had already collected the sufficient number of citizens’ signatures (at least 50,000) in support of their candidacy, to join a public debate and submit their programmes.

Current President Milos Zeman, 72, announced that he would be defending his post. Along with Horacek, former Science Academy (AV) chairman Jiri Drahos, 68, will also run in the presidential election scheduled for January 2018. Other candidates, who expressed their intention to run for head of state, have not met the election conditions yet.

According to a poll conducted by the Focus agency for the public Czech Radio, 12.4 percent of respondents would vote for Horacek, while Drahos would get 13 percent and Zeman 28.1 percent. Support for other potential candidates is negligible.

The poll was conducted on a sample of 1011 people on August 14-28, Czech Radio reported on its website.

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

The deadline for officially announcing a presidential candidacy expires on November 7.

However, the candidates have already been obliged to send the numbers of their transparent election accounts to the Office Supervising the Financial Management of Political Parties and Movements. Seven candidates have done so.