Ex-University Rector Tomas Zima Qualifies For Presidential Ballot With Senate Support

Tomas Zima has collected 13 signatures from senators, and has submitted his candidacy for the presidential race. Credit: Tomas Zima, via Facebook.

Prague, Oct 18 (CTK) – The former Rector of Charles University, Tomas Zima, has gathered the required number of senators’ signatures enabling him to run in the presidential election, he told the Deník.cz server today. He reportedly has the signatures of 13 senators, while the required minimum is ten.

He said he is simultaneously continuing to collect the signatures of citizens, and has now reached around 37,000. At least 50,000 signatures are required for a candidate’s bid to be accepted.

The first round of the direct presidential election is scheduled for 13-14 January. The incumbent President Milos Zeman’s second and final five-year mandate ends in early March.

The deadline for presidential contenders to submit their bids is approaching. For those counting on citizens’ signatures, the deadline is 8 November. Those who wanted to use the signatures of the outgoing senators had to submit their bid by 15 October, a couple of weeks after Senate elections in which 27 of the upper house’s 81 seats were contested.

“My candidacy was registered by the Interior Ministry on Friday. I submitted a sheet with 13 signatures of outgoing and newly-elected senators, as well as those midway through their mandate,” Zima told Denik cz.

Zima, a physician by profession, said he has the support of senators across the political spectrum. Signatories to his presidential bid include three senators and physicians: Jan Zaloudik (CSSD), Vera Prochazkova (ANO) and Ladislav Vaclavec (ANO), as well as two senators from the Civic Democrats (ODS) and Mayors and Independents (STAN).

The signatures of at least 20 deputies, 10 senators or 50,000 citizens are needed for a candidate to register their bid.

Of the other candidates, the limit of 50,000 signatures has already been met by General Petr Pavel, ex-Mendel University Rector and economist Danuse Nerudova, entrepreneur Tomas Brezina, and former Energy Regulatory Office chairwoman Alena Vitaskova.

According to the Median agency’s latest election model, the first round of the presidential election, if held now, would be won by Pavel, followed by ex-PM and opposition leader ANO Andrej Babis, who has not yet announced whether he will run. Nerudova would come third.

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