Fraud suspected ahead of January presidential election

Jan Nemec
18. 12. 2012 17:25
Okamura may have committed "electoral fraud" in signature collection, said parliamentary committee
Tomio Okamura
Tomio Okamura | Foto: Ludvík Hradilek

Prague - Presidential candidate Tomio Okamura may have committed an electoral fraud, said the public administration committee of the Chamber of Deputies.

The committee summoned Okamura to its Tuesday meeting to explain the circumstances of the collection of 50,000 signatures of legitimate voters to back his candidacy. However, Okamura did not attend to the meeting.

Stanislav Polacak (TOP 09 and STAN), the committee's chairman, said that Okamura had possibly committed an "attempted electoral fraud".

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Each presidential candidate has to collect 50,000 signatures of  voters in order for their candidacy to be valid.

In November, after picking and analyzing samples of the signatures filed by the candidates, the Interior Ministry excluded Okamura's candidacy.

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The Supreme Administrative Court randomly picked 20 names from the ministry's sample of the signatures collected by Okamura. The court "reached the conclusion that these persons did not exist," said Polcak.

If the Supreme Administrative Court's suspicion is shared by the Interior Ministry, the latter should file a criminal complaint against Okamura, said Polcak.

"According to my judgment, there is a non-significant sample of signatures that are obviously not authentic," said Polcak, who also described Okamura's defense as "significantly lacking reality".

Okamura had appealed against the Interior Ministry's verdict to the Constitutional Court.

Jan Kysela, a constitutional lawyer, said that Okamura's appeal may, under certain circumstances, delay the election, whose first round is to be held on January 11 and 12, 2013. If the Constitutional Court finds Okamura's appeal legitimate, it may pass a preliminary measure to delay the vote, explained Kysela.

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