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Gov’t backs need of 50,000 signatures in presidential race

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Prague, Aug 24 (CTK) – The Czech cabinet wants to preserve the condition of 50,000 people’s signatures for candidates to enter the presidential election race, but the signatories will be newly obliged to add their ID number, according to an amendment to the presidential election law that the cabinet approved on Wednesday.

Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mladek (Social Democrats, CSSD) informed journalists about the decision.

The cabinet was choosing from two alternatives. It rejected the proposal that the number of the required signatures be lowered from the present 50,000 to 8,000 but all signatures be obligatorily verified.

This, nevertheless, would require a change to the Constitution, which the cabinet did not prefer.

The amendment to the rules applying to presidential candidates is to prevent disputes over disputable signatures of supporters, similar to those before the first direct presidential election in early 2013.

Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Belobradek (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) wrote on Twitter that the cabinet rejected the proposal to extend the right to vote also to apply to foreigners from non-EU countries.

The amendment to the presidential election law also facilitates the use of e-methods in nominating the candidates’ delegates in election commissions and other proceedings.

Furthermore, it changes some rules of voting at the Czech diplomatic missions abroad in reaction to problems that arose in Latin America in 2013 due to a combination of the local time and the Czech Republic’s winter time practice at the embassies. Strictly in accordance with law, the election votes could start to be counted at the embassies before the balloting officially ended.

At the time, the situation was settled by a decision of the National Election Commission.

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