Elections in the Czech Republic

In 2021, elections to the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic will be held on 8 and 9 October 2021.

More information here.

 

Elections represent the basic mechanism for staffing the bodies of representative democracywhere a legally defined group of people vote to elect their representatives to the representative bodies that are the institutional basis of public authority.

Constitutional principles of the right to vote

The development of modern electoral law during the 19th and 20th centuries resulted in certain standard features that are reflected in generally accepted principles of electoral law. These are conditions for the recognition and exercise of the right to vote that guarantee the free expression of the will. Individual states have them enshrined, as a rule, directly in the Constitution:

  • General - everyone has the right to vote, regardless of race, gender, social origin, etc., but subject to conditions set by law - e.g. age;
  • Equality - 1 voter = 1 vote, the votes of the voter have equal weight;
  • Directness - the voter votes in person, no proxy voting is allowed;
  • Secrecy - no one is entitled to find out who a voter voted for
  • Article 2(1) of the Constitution (principle of representative democracy) - the people are the source of all state power, exercising it through the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government;
  • according to Article 5 of the Constitution - the political system is based on the free and voluntary formation and free competition of political parties respecting basic democratic principles and rejecting violence as a means of advancing their interests;
  • Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms - citizens have the right to participate in the administration of public affairs directly or by freely electing their representatives; elections must be held within periods not exceeding the regular electoral periods laid down by law; citizens have access to elected and other public offices on equal terms.

 

The active and passive right to vote is constitutionally guaranteed in Article 21(1) and (4) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.

Active suffrage we understand the right to vote. The range of conditions for the right to vote varies for different types of elections. However, the restrictions imposed by law must always be constitutionally consistent with the fundamental principle of the universality of the right to vote.

Passive suffrage we understand the right to be elected. Even this right has its conditions in the individual electoral laws.

 

Types of elections

In the Czech Republic, we can distinguish types of elections primarily according to the body that is filled through elections.

Voters vote:

  • of the President of the Republic
  • Members of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
  • Senators of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
  • Members of the European Parliament for the Czech Republic
  • members of regional councils
  • members of municipal councils

Within each type of election, we can distinguish whether it is ordinary elections (after the expiry of the term of office) or by special electionwhen an event occurs which is foreseen by law and which justifies the holding of an election outside the ordinary period.

 

For each type of election

1) Election of the President of the Czech Republic (the president is the head of state, directly elected)

  • held during the last 60 days of the term of office of the incumbent President, but no later than 30 days before the expiry of the term of office of the incumbent President
  • the election takes place in the Czech Republic and abroad (the Czech Republic is one electoral district)
  • the term of office of the President of the Republic is 5 years

2) Elections to the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic (one of the chambers of Parliament; 200 Members)

  • are held in electoral regions
  • they are held in the Czech Republic and abroad (results from abroad are subordinated to the electoral region determined by lot by the State Election Commission)
  • the term of office of Members is set at 4 years

2) Elections to the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic (one of the chambers of Parliament, 81 senators)

  • elections are held every two years in one third (27) of the constituencies
  • they are held in constituencies in the Czech Republic only
  • the term of office of Senators is fixed at 6 years

3) European Parliament elections (European Union institution)

  • held in the last year of the European Parliament's term of office
  • shall be announced by the President on the basis of a decision of the Council of the European Union at least 90 days before the meeting
  • the territory of the Czech Republic consists of one electoral district
  • the term of office is set at 5 years

4) Elections to regional councils (a region is a higher territorial self-government unit)

  • held in all regions (except the capital city of Prague)
  • the term of office of the representatives is 4 years

5) Elections to municipal councils (a municipality is a basic territorial self-governing unit)

  • they are held in all municipalities, townships, cities, incorporated and unincorporated statutory cities, the capital city of Prague, city districts and city districts
  • the term of office of the representatives is 4 years

Electoral system

In simple terms, we can electoral system defined as the way in which seats are allocated to candidates in relation to the outcome of the vote. The final electoral result depends to a significant extent on the way it is determined. The theory and practice of elections distinguishes two main models of electoral systems, namely:

  • proportional representation system
    The seats are allocated to the candidate political entities in proportion to the number of valid votes they received from the electorate. Two basic methods of calculation are used to determine the actual result of the vote, namely the electoral number or the electoral divisor. A tool to prevent the political scene from becoming too fragmented is the so-called closure clauses (the minimum share of votes that a candidate must obtain in order to be allocated seats).
    The Czech Republic holds elections to the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, regional and municipal councils and the European Parliament.
  • majority voting system
    The candidate who receives more votes than any other opposing candidate is elected. The system in the Czech Republic is that a candidate must obtain an absolute majority of the valid votes cast; if this is not done, a second round is held, to which the two most successful candidates advance.
    According to the principles of the majority system, elections to the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic and election of the President of the Czech Republic.

The results of the modern elections can be found on the website of the Czech Statistical Office: elections.cz