On Facebook, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš admitted he was interested in running for president, but said any candidacy was conditional on collecting a sufficient number of signatures from citizens.
Earlier, Babiš stated that President Miloš Zeman would like him to run for the post.
The prime minister noted that everyone was asking him about the presidential election.
“So, it occurred to me that people might start assembling those petition sheets and could collect enough signatures. But I don’t want to anticipate anything. It’s really not a topic at the moment,” Babiš said in a video on Facebook, referring to the way of nominating candidates for the post through petition initiated by citizens.
He stressed that he was concentrating on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and the planned transition of his ANO movement to the opposition.
However, if Babiš really decided to run, he probably would not need the signatures of the citizens. The condition for being nominated is collecting the signatures of at least 20 deputies, or ten senators or 50,000 citizens. The ANO movement, of which Babiš is chairman, has 72 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Without much difficulty, Babiš would thus probably fulfill the condition with the signatures of the deputies.
According to bookmakers, Babiš is currently the biggest favorite for the next president. Both Tipsport and Fortuna bookmakers rank him just ahead of General Petr Pavel. In third and fourth are the rector of Mendel University, Danuše Nerudová and Senator Pavel Fischer.
The five-year term of the current president ends in 2023. According to the constitution, he cannot run for the post again.