Eleven candidates in the running for president

Eleven candidates are in the running for the top post in the country’s first direct presidential elections. The deadline for registrations expired on Tuesday and the eleven candidates registered are: Social Democrat deputy chairman Jiří Dienstbier, former finance minister Vladimír Dlouhý, former interim prime minister Jan Fischer, MEP Zuzana Roithová, Senate deputy chairman Přemysl Sobotka, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, former prime minister Miloš Zeman, former MEP Jana Bobošíková, composer Vladimir Franz, newly-elected senator Tomio Okamura and actress Tanya Fischerova. Their registrations will be confirmed in mid-November after some of the signatures collected have been checked at random. Election criteria require candidates to collect signatures from 10 senators, 20 MPs or 50,000 citizens. The first direct presidential election in the country’s history is scheduled for January 11-12. The two most successful candidates will meet in a second round to be held two weeks later.