Outgoing Czech PM Andrej Babiš hints at run for president

Emphasizing that his current focus is elsewhere, the outgoing PM hinted at a potential run for president on social media.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 20.11.2021 17:19 (updated on 20.11.2021) Reading time: 1 minute

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš hinted that he might run for president if he collects enough signatures for his candidacy in video posted to social media.

The outgoing PM emphasized that he is currently focused on tackling the coronavirus pandemic and ensuring a smooth shift of power to his successor Petr Fiala, who is set to be appointed on November 26.

"The president would like me to run," Babiš said in an interview with Blesk last week, hinting that he had the support of current Czech President Miloš Zeman for a potential bid for president in 2023.

Yesterday, he responded to a comment on social media regarding a potential campaign for president.

"Everyone is asking [about it]," Babiš remarked.

"So maybe it occurred to me that if people started collecting petitions and collecting a lot of signatures… But I don't want to anticipate, we'll see, it's not really a focus at the moment."

Should Babiš decide to run for president, he would likely not need to get signatures from citizens. Conditions for running for president require either 50,000 signatures from Czech citizens, or 20 signatures from members of the Czech Senate or Chamber of Deputies.

The ANO party, which Babiš heads, currently has 72 seats in the Czech Chamber of Deputies, meaning he should have all the support he needs for a potential run for president.

When directly asked whether he will run as a candidate in the 2023 presidential election, Babiš said that the decision will come down to ANO. He added that the party wants to field a candidate for president.

According to local betting companies, Babiš is the current favorite to become the next Czech president in 2023, when the second and last of Zeman's terms will end.

Both Tipsport and Fortuna give Babiš slightly better odds than General Petr Pavel, while Mendel University rector Danuše Nerudová and senator Pavel Fischer trail further behind.

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