The Interior Ministry has officially confirmed there will be nine candidates in the presidential election in January, and rejected and additional 11 would-be entries who failed to gather the requisite signatures. Successful applicants were required to collect either 50,000 signatures from the public, 20 from MPs in the lower house or 10 from senators.
Miloš Zeman is the incumbent seeking a second and final five-year term; polls put the former head of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Jiří Drahoš, and lyricist and former betting agency owner Michal Horáček, as his most serious rivals in the race so far. Also running for president is former prime minister Mirek Topolánek, the former Czech ambassador to Paris Pavel Fischer, doctor and activist Marek Hilšer, the former head of Škoda Auto Vratislav Kulhánek, the head of the Defense and Security Association Jiří Hynek, and musician and politician Petr Hannig.
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