Prague, Aug 28 (CTK) – The campaign before the Czech direct presidential election, due next January, officially started today when the decision on the election’s date was promulgated in the Digest of Laws.

Senate chairman Milan Stech announced last week that the first round of the presidential election will be held on January 12-13, 2018. The expected runoff vote will follow on January 26-27.

Within five days of the publishing of the election date, all presidential candidates must open transparent bank accounts for the financing of their campaigns. The ceiling for the costs of the campaign is 40 million crowns for each candidate.

The two candidates advancing to the possible runoff may spend further 10 million crowns between the first and second rounds. A new state body will supervise the financing of the campaigns.

Incumbent President Milos Zeman wants to seek re-election. His most serious rivals seem to be former Czech Science Academy head Jiri Drahos and lyricist and former betting firm owner Michal Horacek.

The presidential candidates must submit their applications for running in the election to the Interior Ministry by November 7.

($1=22.098 crowns)

kva/dr