Danuse Nerudova, via Facebook.

Former Mendel University Rector Nerudova Reaches Enough Signatures For Presidential Bid

Nerudova is a former Rector of Brno’s Mendel University. Photo credit: Danuse Nerudova, via Facebook. 

Brno, Oct 14 (CTK) – Former Mendel University rector and presidential candidate Danuse Nerudova and her team have collected over 80,000 signatures, out of which 50,000 must be valid in order for her to qualify for the presidential race, her spokesperson Stepan Neubauer told CTK today.

Nerudova’s team assumes that about 20% will be eliminated due to errors or illegibility.

“There is an incredible amount of work by volunteers behind this number, and I would like to thank all of them from the bottom of my heart. I appreciate every single signature and it is a huge commitment for me,” said Nerudova in a statement for CTK.

Her team will now go through the signature sheets and eliminate all signatures that cannot be used, in order to hand the Interior Ministry a petition with as few invalid signatures as possible.

Nerudova also noted that she had refused several “pay-per-signature” proposals, and said that no one had been paid for their signature.

Nerudova announced her decision to run for president in late May, and is one of the three candidates endorsed by the governing SPOLU coalition, comprising the Civic Democrats (ODS), Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) and TOP 09. The other two are general Petr Pavel and Senator Pavel Fischer.

The latest election model of the Median agency shows that Pavel would win the first round of the two-round vote, just ahead of former PM Andrej Babis, who has not yet announced his candidacy. Danuse Nerudova is polling third. The first two candidates proceed to the second round.

In order to take part in the presidential election, candidates must collect the signatures of 20 MPs, 10 senators, or 50,000 citizens.

President Milos Zeman’s second five-year mandate will end in early March next year. The constitution says he cannot run for a third term.

Some candidates have published the number of signatures they have collected. Pavel announced in late September that he had collected over 55,000 signatures, and was still collecting.

Entrepreneur Tomas Brezina announced that he had reached the 50,000-signature limit in mid-June, and Alena Vitaskova, former head of the Energy Regulatory Office (ERU), had collected 51,000 signatures by the end of July.

Senator Marek Hilser has also been collecting citizens’ signatures. In case he does not collect the required amount in time, he will ask senators for their signatures, he told CTK.

Based on data available in mid-August, entrepreneur Karel Divis had collected 25,000, Communist Josef Skala had collected between a half and a third of the necessary 50,000 signatures, and former Charles University Rector Tomas Zima had collected around 10,000 signatures.

The first round of the presidential election will be held on 13-14 January, 2023, with the second round to take place two weeks later. The deadline for the candidates to submit their candidacy is the beginning of November.

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