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Drahoš to spend ten million on presidential runoff campaign

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Prague, Jan 15 (CTK) – The team of presidential candidate Jiri Drahos, former Czech Science Academy head, expects to spend ten million crowns on his campaign before the runoff in which he will fight with incumbent President Milos Zeman, Karolina Brennerova, from Drahos’s team, told CTK on Monday.

Some of his previous sponsors have already promised further financial gifts to Drahos and new ones have addressed him, too, Brennerova, in charge of communication with sponsors, said.

“We have naturally thanked all donors who supported us in the first round, and at the same time we asked them whether they would be willing to back up Professor Drahos in the second round as well,” Brennerova said.

Drahos received 26.6 percent of the vote and Zeman 38.6 percent in the first round of the presidential election this weekend. The second round is held in two weeks.

Lyricist and businessman Michal Horacek, one of the seven unsuccessful candidates, has offered 12 big advertising boards he leased along motorways as well as his Internet campaign and contact centre to Drahos and he called on his volunteers to support Drahos’s fight against Zeman, Horacek’s spokesman Jiri Taborsky told CTK on Monday.

Other candidates have also offered aid to Drahos.

Physician, university teacher and activist Marek Hilser offers help on social networks and he said he was prepared to take part in meetings with voters as well. The particular form of support depends on the Drahos team’s requirements, he added.

Both Horacek and Hilser arrived in Drahos’s election centre to support him on Saturday after the results became apparent.

Out of the other unsuccessful candidates, former diplomat Pavel Fischer, former prime minister Mirek Topolanek and Skoda auto former board head Vratislav Kulhanek also expressed support for Drahos.

Drahos’s team set the budget for the second round at up to ten million crowns.

The Y Soft Corporation company, which sent one million crowns to Drahos’s election account before the first round, promised to give him more money, along with the Blizksobe foundation, which donated 1.5 million so far, and the Horak couple, owners of the Albatros Media publishers. Benefactor Vaclav Dejcmar s to be a new sponsor.

Drahos has already spent 28.7 million crowns on his campaign, while he received 34 million from big and small sponsors.

The law sets the limit for the costs of the campaign before the first and second rounds of a presidential election at 40 and ten million crowns, respectively.

Zeman officially claims he is not leading any election campaign. However, his aides and supporters paid for his billboards, posters and other advertisements promoting his re-election.

Zeman has declared nonmonetary gifts of almost 17 million crowns, while another 4.5 million crown were sent to his election account.

The unsuccessful candidates can be still receiving gifts for their campaign, according to the Office Supervising the Financing of Political Parties, and they can also use them in support of the candidates who advanced to the runoff vote, office member Jan Outly said.

Such donations will not be calculated into the finalists’ campaign costs, he added.

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