FIFTEEN people submitted petitions for presidential candidacies backed by either 15,000 citizen signatures or 15 parliamentary deputies. The deadline elapsed midnight January 9. The number is the highest ever for presidential elections, the SITA newswire reported.

The list of candidates includes: Prime Minister Robert Fico; deputy chair of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) Pavol Hrušovský; Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) MP Peter Osuský; businessman and civil activist Jozef Behýl; philanthropist Andrej Kiska, co-founder and former member of the KDH Ján Čarnogurský; one of the leaders of the Velvet Revolution and former government official Milan Kňažko; former KDH MP Radoslav Procházka; member of the Party of Hungarian Community (SMK) Gyula Bárdos; cardio-surgeon Viliam Fischer; scientist Milan Melník; Mayor of Rimavská Sobota Jozef Šimko; former ambassador to Argentina Ján Jurišta; MP for the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) Helena Mezenská; and chair of the Coalition of Citizens of Slovakia Stanislav Martinčko.

Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška has already accepted the bids of seven candidates: Fico, Kiska, Čarnogurský, Hrušovský, Osuský, Kňažko and Behýl. The parliament has already checked the signatures submitted by Procházka, Fischer, Melník, Bárdos and Martinčko which now wait for Paška’s signature. As Jurišta, Šimko and Mezenská submitted the signatures closest to the deadline they still need to be checked, parliament spokesman Pavol Chovanec told SITA.

If Paška confirms all candidates who submitted the petitions, it will be the highest number of people ever running in direct presidential elections. Ten people ran in 1990, 12 in 2004 and seven in 2009, SITA reported.

The presidential elections will take place on March 15. If no candidate wins an outright majority, the two candidates with the highest number of votes will participate in the second run-off held on March 29. President Ivan Gašparovič’s second term finishes on June 15.

Source: SITA

For more information about this story please see: Presidential candidates race to meet deadline

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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