Nine candidates will contest the Czech Republic’s presidential election in January 2023

Archive – Former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis. – íhová Michaela/CTK/dpa

The Czech Republic’s Interior Ministry said Friday that up to nine candidates will run in the presidential elections scheduled for the first round on January 13-14, 2023, including former Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who is the front-runner.

Seven of these candidates have been endorsed by deputies and senators — the support of 20 of the former or 10 of the latter is needed –, while others obtained the sufficient number of signatures from citizens — 50,000 –.

Thirteen other candidates were left out because they did not comply with all the requirements for various reasons, among them not presenting the candidacy within the established deadlines or not having obtained the minimum number of necessary citizen signatures.

The main favorites remain former Prime Minister Babis with 22 percent of the votes, narrowly beaten, with 22.5 percent of the votes, by the former chairman of the NATO Military Committee, retired General Petr Pavel.

In third place would be the former rector of Mendel University in Brno, Danuse Nerudova, with 15 percent of the support, according to the latest polls published earlier this month in the Czech media.

A possible runoff would take place 14 days after the first round. The current president, Milos Zeman, cannot run again after serving his two terms as provided for by Czech law.