Josef Stredula, via Facebook.

Trade Union Leader Stredula Withdraws From Presidential Election, Endorses Nerudova

Stredula endorsed former Mendel University rector Danuse Nerudova. Credit: Josef Stredula, via Facebook. 

Prague, Jan 9 (CTK) – Josef Stredula, chair of the CMKOS umbrella organisation of Czech trade unions, has given up his candidacy for Czech president and endorsed former Mendel University rector Danuse Nerudova, he announced in a debate on Czech Television yesterday, five days before the first round of the presidential election.

Stredula, 55, who announced his resignation in the final words from the eight candidates who attended the televised debate, thanked his supporters and stressed that he would keep fighting for the dignity of working people. Nerudova, one of the three favourites in the election, reacted immediately to his words during the debate.

Stredula said he would not want either ex-PM Andrej Babis or former senior military officer Petr Pavel to win the presidential contest, as both were connected with the previous Communist regime. Babis was the only candidate not to participate in today’s TV discussion.

“I am convinced that Danuse Nerudova has social empathy,” Stredula said.

Nerudova later tweeted that she appreciated Stredula’s support. “I can imagine that after a campaign of almost one year, this was not easy. Mr Stredula, I take this as a big commitment and I will do my utmost for your voters to find their representation in me in the presidential election,” she wrote.

Of the nine candidates, Stredula was among those in the trailing group, with voter support of just a few percent in pre-election polling.

Stredula announced that he would run for president in early May 2022. He announced on 8 November, before submitting his bid, that he would run with the support of 11 senators and had collected signatures from over 60,000 citizens. He said he was running for president for voters to have the option of a candidate with no Communist past, who had not collaborated with the previous regime, and also had social empathy.

The law on the presidential election allows candidates to withdraw, up until 24 hours before the vote starts, either in writing or via a data box. Candidates must deliver this decision to the Interior Ministry, and it cannot then be withdrawn.

The ministry will provide information about a candidate’s withdrawal at all polling stations and on the presidential election website. If any voters subsequently vote for the withdrawn candidate, these votes are counted as invalid.

Czech voters will be choosing the new head of state from eight candidates on Friday and Saturday, 13-14 January. The expected second round of two finalists will be held two weeks later.

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