Prague, Aug 19 (CTK) – Former Science Academy (AV) chairman Jiri Drahos, 68, has collected 78,321 signatures on his petition, which is more than the 50,00 he needs to run for Czech president, he told his supporters and volunteers helping in his campaign said at an informal meeting on Saturday.
His team plans to continue collecting the signatures in a similar way as current President Milos Zeman, 72, who will seek re-election, and lyricist and former successful businessman Michal Horacek, 65. Both announced earlier that they had the sufficient number of signatures.
Drahos wanted to meet the volunteers from all regions at a meeting in Prague on Saturday.
“This is an opportunity for them to get acquainted with me and people from my team personally,” he said.
Along with promotional items, the volunteers received sailor T-shirts to symbolise that they are in the same boat, the organisers said.
Drahos told his supporters that he would need one to 1.2 million votes to advance to the second round of the presidential election.
Drahos announced his intention to run for president at the end of March shortly after he ended at the Academy’s helm, and he started collecting signatures on his petition in April.
According to the media and betting shops, he is one of the election favourites and Zeman’s strongest rivals.
Drahos said he would like to open the issues of creative education and innovations in his campaign.
“This is expected from a man who has been working in science and education the whole life,” he said.
He wants constructive topics important for the Czech Republic to dominate the pre-election debate, he added.
Zeman’s team announced they had collected enough signatures for his presidential candidacy. He has 59,263 signatures, Zeman’s wife Ivana Zemanova, head of the petition committer, told journalists on Wednesday.
Horacek announced that the had more then 50,000 signatures in May. Now he has some 70,000.
Doctor and activist Marek Hilser told CTK this week that he had collected 15,000 signatures. Kulhanek, 73, former chairman of the Skoda car maker’s board, has 10,000 signatures so far.
Senator Jaroslav Kubera (Civic Democrats, ODS) is considering running for president as well. He has sufficient support of senators for his candidacy.
Presidential candidates must collect at least 50,000 signatures by citizens on their candidacy or be proposed by 10 senators or 20 deputies. Since the contenders for the post are afraid that errors may appear on the petition sheets, they want to obtain more signatures.
The Senate chairman declares the presidential election date. The first round is to be held in January.