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Drahoš awarded Japanese doctorate

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Prague, Nov 24 (CTK) – Czech Academy of Sciences former head Jiri Drahos, one of the favourites of the forthcoming presidential election, received an honorary doctorate from the Japanese Kobe University on Friday.

Kobe University Rector Hiroshi Takeda said the doctorate was awarded to Drahos for his long-term cooperation with Japanese researchers.

Drahos, an expert in chemical engineering, has been working on projects together with experts from Kobe University since 1992. He has visited Japan 15 times since then.

Drahos said he appreciated the honorary doctorate very much because it was awarded for his particular research.

He said this is his second honorary doctorate. “I got the first one from the Technical University in Bratislava,” he said.

“I appreciate it that both of my honorary doctorates are for something that was not a formal act. I had to work hard for both of the doctorates and I am very glad that my colleagues from Japan acknowledged it,” he added.

The representatives of Kobe University said the awarding of the honorary doctorate had nothing to do with the Czech presidential election. They said it is not even known in Japan that a presidential election is to be held in the Czech Republic.

Drahos welcomed that the Czech Interior Ministry confirmed 141,000 signatures in support of his presidential bid. “I am happy because this gives a certain legitimacy to my candidacy. A different legitimacy than political nominations. It is a candidacy with a strong support from the public,” he said.

A presidential candidate had to receive support from either a group of lawmakers (20 members of the Chamber of Deputies or ten senators) or submit signatures by at least 50,000 people on his bid.

About 2.6 percent of the signatures that Drahos’s team submitted to the Interior Ministry was considered faulty, which is a rather low portion.

The ministry declared that incumbent President Milos Zeman received about 104,000 valid signatures and entrepreneur Michal Horacek 87,000. The remaining six candidates were supported by senators or lower house deputies.

“We did not race to get the highest number of signatures. We did not try to achieve any record,” Drahos said on behalf of his team of volunteers.

The direct presidential election will be held in January. Opinion polls show that Zeman is the most popular candidate, followed by Drahos, but that Drahos is considered an acceptable candidate by more people than Zeman.

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