The presentation of the draft electoral code which would introduce a direct election of the Czech president has sparked rumors that incumbent president Vaclav Klaus – currently in his second term – might hypothetically be able to run for office again.
The authors of the bill and several legal experts now declared that a change of the electoral code and an amendment of the constitution would not give president Klaus this possibility. Any amendments made would not affect the constitutional provision that a person can only be elected president twice.
Further discussion has arisen about the technicalities of proposing a presidential candidate and the number of rounds needed to elect a president. The document currently foresees nomination by either groups of at least 20 deputies or senators or citizens of full age who can provide at least 50 000 signatures support (due to Interior minister, Radek John, a number deemed to high to be verifiable by his ministry). Concerning the number of rounds needed for electing a president, three propositions exist: 1) the president is elected by a relative majority of votes in the first and only round; 2) if no candidate is able to secure an absolute majority of votes in the first round, all candidates who gained at least 12,5% proceed to the second and ultimate round; 3) only the two best candidates from the first round proceed to the second round.
The next presidential elections – whether direct or indirect – will take place in February 2013 when Vaclav Klaus’ second term expires.