Andrej Babis, via Facebook

Babis Submits Presidential Candidacy With Support of 56 MPs

As of today, 12 candidates, including Babis, have officially submitted their candidacy documents. Photo credit: Andrej Babis, via Facebook.  

Prague, Nov 4 (CTK) – Senior opposition ANO leader and former PM Andrej Babis submitted his presidential candidacy to the Interior Ministry this morning, signed by 56 ANO MPs, he told reporters after handing in the sheet of signatures.

On Sunday, Babis announced his intention to run in the January presidential election, and his candidacy was approved by the ANO leadership on Monday.

Babis asked his party’s MPs for their signatures at a meeting of the ANO parliamentary group on Tuesday morning. He told reporters this morning that those MPs who were present had signed his candidacy on Tuesday, and others added their signatures on Wednesday. He did not seek the support of all the party’s 72 MPs.

Babis said that the next president should give people hope and talk about the future, and also the problems people are currently experiencing, especially the question of energy. He noted that the president’s power lies mainly in economic diplomacy.

When announcing his candidacy officially on Monday, Babis said he wanted to run for president because the government was not doing enough to help citizens. He said there was a risk that the next head of state would play into the hands of the cabinet, while the president should be for all citizens.

Today, he repeated that the CZK 8.5 million used to finance the campaign before this year’s local and Senate elections, in which he played a significant part, would be included in the budget for his presidential campaign.

The Office for Economic Supervision of Political Parties and Political Movements said candidates must include any personal campaign appearances since the date of the election was announced in their campaign expenses calculations. The election was announced in early July and the upper limit for spending on the first round campaign is CZK 40 million.

Babis, 68, is one of the richest Czechs, and is currently on trial over suspected subsidy fraud linked to the Capi hnizdo (Stork Nest), a conference and recreation centre south of Prague.

As of today, 12 candidates, including Babis, have officially submitted their candidacy documents, said Hana Mala from the Interior Ministry press department, adding that one of the previously submitted candidacy sheets had been withdrawn. She previously noted that some of them would probably not meet the required conditions.

Some of the known candidates are senators Pavel Fischer and Marek Hilser, former university rectors Danuse Nerudova and Tomas Zima, Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) MP Jaroslav Basta, and Denisa Rohanova, who heads an association defending the rights of debtors. In the days to come, general Petr Pavel and entrepreneurs Karel Divis and Karel Janecek are also expected to submit their candidacy.

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