CANDIDATES seeking to run for the president in the election scheduled for March 15 only have two more days to submit their petitions to qualify.

All those who want to run in the presidential election must submit their candidacy by January 9, supported either with signatures of 15,000 citizens or by 15 MPs.

The list of presidential candidates currently includes the entrepreneur and philanthropist Andrej Kiska; former Christian Democrat (KDH) now Independent MP Radoslav Procházka; SDKÚ, KDH and Most-Híd nominee Pavol Hrušovský; KDH co-founder Ján Čarnogurský; Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) MP Peter Osuský; actor-turned-politician Milan Kňažko, party vice-chairman of the Party of Hungarian Community (SMK) Gyula Bárdos; and Prime Minister Robert Fico as Smer's nominee.

Other people who have announced their bids are Jozef Behýl, Milan Melník, Stanislav Martincko, János Bosza and Ľubica Blašková; mayor of Rimavská Sobota Jozef Šimko; and prominent heart surgeon Viliam Fischer, the TASR newswire reported.

MP of the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) Helena Mezenská, who also suggested she would like to run in the election, said that in case she fails to collect 15,000 signatures of citizens, she will ask MPs for help, TASR reported January 5.

Leonid Chovanec, a citizen from Košice who intended to run as an independent candidate, gave up his candidacy on January 6 citing "unequal conditions for people in their access to the candidacy for the post of president”, TASR reported. He did not manage to collect the 15,000 signatures to support his presidential bid.

The presidential election will take place on March 15 with a potential run-off scheduled for March 29 between the top two candidates if no-one secures a simple majority in the first round. The term of President Ivan Gašparovic is due to expire on June 15, by which time a new president will have been inaugurated, TASR wrote.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
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