Czech Court May Decide to Postpone Presidential Election

The Czech Constitutional Court may decide today to reschedule the country’s first direct presidential election planned for next week as it reviews a complaint filed by a candidate excluded from the vote.

The court, based in Brno, the Czech Republic’s second-largest city, should announce whether the elections will take place as planned on Jan. 11-12 or will be moved to a later date because of Tomio Okamura’s complaint, Jana Pelcova, the court’s spokeswoman, said by phone today. Okamura was eliminated from running for the post after the Interior Ministry said he failed to collect the 50,000 signatures needed to run.

Okamura asked the court in a Dec. 27 complaint to postpone the election and eliminate the condition for candidates who weren’t nominated by any party to collect 50,000 support votes ahead of the ballot. Okamura was eliminated along with Vladimir Dlouhy after the ministry said some of the signatures the candidates presented weren’t valid.

The president, whose responsibilities include appointing members to the central bank’s policy-making board, was previously elected for a five-year term by lawmakers. President Vaclav Klaus’s second term in office ends in March. Leading candidates for the post are former prime ministers Milos Zeman and Jan Fischer, according to latest opinion polls.

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