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Presidential campaign officially underway

THE PRESIDENTIAL campaign officially began on February 28 and will end on March 13 at 7:00 when a 48-hour pre-vote moratorium begins. Candidates are allowed to spend no more than €132,775, including VAT, during that period, the TASR newswire reported.

THE PRESIDENTIAL campaign officially began on February 28 and will end on March 13 at 7:00 when a 48-hour pre-vote moratorium begins. Candidates are allowed to spend no more than €132,775, including VAT, during that period, the TASR newswire reported.

The law defines a campaign as an activity of candidates, political parties and movements, or other subjects in favour of the possible election of the candidate, including advertising in mass media, billboards, posters or other information carriers.

Though the law also prohibits any form of campaign before its official start, many candidates have already begun addressing voters. There are no rules on billboards or limitation on candidates meeting people. Those candidates who would think that this unofficial campaigning could affect the election results can turn to the Constitutional Court, Eva Chmelová, secretary of the Central Election Committee, told the SITA newswire.

The law also stipulates that all candidates should have equal access to mass media. No candidate should be favoured against the others and the campaign has to be clearly distinguished from other media content, as reported by TASR.

While the public-service Radio and Television of Slovakia (RTVS) has to introduce the candidates and present their campaign, the private media can decide whether they will or not. The maximum broadcasting time for candidates is 10 hours, while one candidate cannot have more than one hour, SITA wrote.

The campaign in broadcasting media will be supervised by the Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission (RVR), which will monitor selected programmes.

The campaign before the possible second round will begin with announcing the official results of the first round and will end 48 hours before the run-off.

There are currently 14 candidates running for the president: Prime Minister Robert Fico; deputy chair of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) Pavol Hrušovský; 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.

The first round takes place on March 15, with the polling stations being open between 7:00 and 22:00. If no candidate gets a clear majority of votes, the two top finishers will enter a second round run-off scheduled for March 29, TASR wrote.

The elected candidate will take office on June 15 when the tenure of current President Ivan Gašparovič expires.

Source: TASR, SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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