Politics of the Czech Republic

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Politics of the Czech Republic

Politický systém Česka (Czech)
Coat of arms of the Czech Republic.svg
Polity type Unitary parliamentary democratic republic
Constitution Constitution of the Czech Republic
Legislative branch
Name Parliament of the Czech Republic
Type Bicameral
Meeting place
Upper house
Name Senate
Presiding officer Miloš Vystrčil, President of the Senate
Lower house
Name Chamber of Deputies
Presiding officer Radek Vondráček, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies
Executive branch
Head of State
Title President
Currently Miloš Zeman
Head of Government
Title Prime Minister
Currently Andrej Babiš
Cabinet
Name Cabinet of the Czech Republic
Current cabinet Andrej Babiš' Second Cabinet
LeaderPrime Minister
Headquarters Straka Academy, Prague
Ministries Ministerial departments
Judicial branch
Name Judiciary
Constitutional Court
SeatJoštova 625, Brno
Supreme Court
SeatBurešova 20, Brno
Supreme Administrative Court
SeatMoravské náměstí 6, Brno

The Czech Republic is a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic, in which the President is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of government. [1]
Executive power is exercised by the Government of the Czech Republic which reports to the Chamber of Deputies. The Legislature is exercised by the Parliament. Czech Parliament is bicameral, the upper house of the Parliament is the Senate, the lower house of the Parliament is the Chamber of Deputies. The Senate consists of 81 members who are elected for six years. The Chamber of Deputies consists of 200 members who are elected for four years. The Judiciary system is topped by the trio of Constitutional Court, Supreme Court and Supreme Administrative Court.
The highest legal document is the Constitution of the Czech Republic, complemented by constitutional laws and the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. The current constitution went in effect on 1st January 1993, [2] after the Dissolution of Czechoslovakia.

Contents

The Czech Republic has a multi-party system. Between 1993 and 2013, the two largest political parties were the left-wing Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) and right-wing Civic Democratic Party (ODS). This changed in early 2014, with the rise of a new major political party ANO 2011, which has since led two cabinets.
The Economist Intelligence Unit rated Czech Republic a " flawed democracy " in 2019. [3] [ needs update ]

Executive branch

The President is the head of state, the Prime Minister is the head of government. The majority of executive power is given to the Cabinet, which consists of the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers and Ministers (usually heads of the Ministries).

Main office holders
OfficeNamePartySince
President Miloš Zeman Party of Civic Rights 8 March 2013
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš ANO 2011 6 December 2017

President

The President of the Czech Republic is elected by a direct vote for five years. They can only serve for two terms. The president is a formal head of state with limited executive powers specified in the articles 54 to 66 of the Constitution: [2]

He is also the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and ratifies all domestic laws and international agreements.

Cabinet

Straka Academy, the seat of the Cabinet, Prague Garden of Straka Academy, Prague Mala Strana.jpg
Straka Academy, the seat of the Cabinet, Prague

The Cabinet is the supreme executive body in the Czech Republic. It makes its decisions as a body. It is held responsible by the Chamber of Deputies. The president appoints every new Prime Minister, who then chooses the Ministers. All Ministers of the Cabinet need to be approved by the President and within thirty days after the presidential approval they must ask the Chamber of Deputies for a vote of confidence.

Prime Minister

The Prime Minister is the head of government. They organize the work of the Cabinet, preside over it and act in its name. They set the agenda for most foreign and domestic policies. They have to obtain the President's approval to hire or dissmis any other member of the Cabinet. [4]

Ministers

A minister is any member of the Cabinet that is not the Prime Minister. They are usually the head of a Ministry, but it is not required. Ministry – sometimes called Government Department – is a governmental organisation that manages a specific sector of public administration. The number of Ministries varies depending on the particular Cabinet and is managed by the Competence Law. As of 2021, the Czech Republic had 13 Ministers and 14 Ministries.

Legislative branch

Thun Palace (Mala Strana), the seat of the Chamber of Deputies, Prague Thunovsky palac, Snemovni 05.JPG
Thun Palace (Malá Strana), the seat of the Chamber of Deputies, Prague
Wallenstein Palace, the seat of the Senate, Prague Senat Wallenstein palace Prague 4677.JPG
Wallenstein Palace, the seat of the Senate, Prague
Simplified chart of the Czech political system Czechpolsystem.png
Simplified chart of the Czech political system

The Parliament (Parlament in Czech) consists of two Houses. The Lower House is the Chamber of Deputies and the Upper House is the Senate.

Main office holders
OfficeNamePartySince
Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Radek Vondráček ANO 2011 22 November 2017
President of the Senate Miloš Vystrčil Civic Democratic Party 19 February 2020

Chamber of Deputies

Chamber of Deputies (Poslanecká sněmovna in Czech) has 200 members, elected for four-year terms by proportional representation with a 5% election threshold. The Chamber of Deputies elections happen every four years, unless the reigning Cabinet prematurely loses the Chamber of Deputies' support. Candidates for every political party participating in the elections are split among 14 electoral districts, which are identical to the country's administrative Regions. A citizen must be at least 21 years old to be eligible for candidacy.
The Chamber of Deputies was formerly known as the Czech National Council. It has the same powers and responsibilities as the now-defunct Federal Assembly of the Czechoslovakia.

Senate

The Senate (Senát in Czech) has 81 members, each elected for a six-year term. Senate elections happen every two years and only a third of the seats is contested each time. All of the 81 Senate electoral districts are designed to contain roughly the same number of voters. The Senate elections use a two-round system, when the two most successful candidates from the first round face each other again in the second round usually a week later. Only citizens who have reached the age of 40 are eligible for candidacy. The senate's function is to be a stabilizing force and its influence is significantly lower than that of the Chamber of Deputies.

Judicial branch

The Czech court system recognizes four categories of courts and the Constitutional Court, which stands outside of the court system.

Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court's main purpose is to protect people's constitutional rights and freedoms. The decisions of the Court are final, cannot be overturned and are considered a source of law. The Court is composed of 15 justices who are named for a renewable period of 10 years by the President and approved by the Senate. [5] All justices of the Constitutional Court have a mandatory retirement age of 70. Its functionality is similar to that of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Supreme Courts

There are two Supreme Courts in the court system of the Czech Republic – the Supreme Court and the Supreme Administrative Court. Both reside in Brno.

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of the Czech Republic is the court of highest appeal for almost all legal cases heard in the Czech Republic. The justices of the Supreme Court analyze and evaluate legally effective decisions of lower courts. They unify the Czech judicature.

Supreme Administrative Court

The Supreme Administrative Court of the Czech Republic protects people from unlawful decisions and procedures of the state authorities. It examines objections to elections and has the authority to ban or suspend the activity of political parties. It resolves competence disputes between governmental organizations and also serves as disciplinary court for other members of the judiciary.

High Courts

There are two High Courts in the Czech Republic – one in Prague and one in Olomouc . They serve as courts of appeal to Regional Courts in cases, where the Regional Court acted as a court of first instance. Presidents of the High Courts are appointed by the President for seven years. The vice-presidents are appointed by the Minister of Justice and also serve a seven-year term. A justice is required by the law to have at least 8 years of experience before becoming a member of a High Court. [6]

Regional Courts

Regional Courts serve mainly as the courts of appeal to District Courts. But they can also act as courts of first instance in cases of more severe criminal charges, disputes between corporations or disputes over intellectual property. There are eight Regional Courts in the Czech Republic: in Brno, Ostrava, Hradec Králové, Ústí nad Labem, Plzeň, České Budějovice and two in Prague.

District Courts

District Courts serve as the courts of first instance in almost all civil or criminal proceedings. There is a total of 86 District Courts in the Czech Republic. Notaries and executors are appointed by the Minister of Justice to their jurisdictions.

Regional government

Regions of the Czech Republic with their coats of arms CoA CZ regions.png
Regions of the Czech Republic with their coats of arms

The Czech Republic is divided in 14 administrative Regions including one for the capital of Prague. The older system of 73 administrative Districts (okresy in Czech) and 4 municipalities was abandoned in 1999 in an administrative reform. Each of the Regions has a Regional Council with a varied number of Regional Councilors and a President of the Regional Cabinet (hejtman in Czech) as its formal head. The capital of Prague is the only exception to this, as the City Council acts both as regional and municipal governing body and is led by a mayor. Regional Councilors are elected for four-year terms similarly to Deputies in the Chamber of Deputies. All adults eligible to vote are also eligible to candidate to a Regional Council.

Composition of the Senate

For the current composition of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic, see List of MPs elected in the 2017 Czech legislative election.

Composition of the Senate of the Czech Republic
PartySeats
2016 [lower-alpha 1] 20182020TOTAL
Mayors and Independents 3511
19 / 81
Civic Democratic Party 3105
18 / 81
Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party 723
12 / 81
ANO 2011 311
5 / 81
TOP 09 212
5 / 81
Czech Social Democratic Party 21
3 / 81
Senator 21 12
3 / 81
Czech Pirate Party 11
2 / 81
Green Party 1
1 / 81
Svobodní 1
1 / 81
Severočeši.cz 1
1 / 81
Ostravak Movement 1
1 / 81
Hradec Králové Democratic Club1
1 / 81
Movement for Prague 111
1 / 81
Marek Hilšer for Senate1
1 / 81
United Democrats — Association of Independents 1
1 / 81
Citizens Together — Independents1
1 / 81
Citizens Patriots1
1 / 81
Independents 13
4 / 81
Total27272781
  1. Includes the 2017 re-run in constituency 4

Sources: Senate,
cs:Volby do Senátu Parlamentu České republiky 2016, cs:Volby do Senátu Parlamentu České republiky 2018
Volby.cz, cs:Volby do Senátu Parlamentu České republiky 2020,
Constituencies in which the election was held:

  • 2016: 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34, 37, 40, 43, 46, 49, 52, 55, 58, 61, 64, 67, 70, 73, 76, 79
  • 2018: 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, 29, 32, 35, 38, 41, 44, 47, 50, 53, 56, 59, 62, 65, 68, 71, 74, 77, 80
  • 2020: 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36, 39, 42, 45, 48, 51, 54, 57, 60, 63, 66, 69, 72, 75, 78, 81

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References

[7]

  1. "Czech Republic | World news". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  2. 1 2 "Contitution of the Czech Republic". Chamber of Deputies, Parliament of the Czech Republic. Retrieved 30 January 2021.
  3. The Economist Intelligence Unit (8 January 2019). "Democracy Index 2019" . Economist Intelligence Unit. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  4. "Prime Minister | Government of the Czech Republic". www.vlada.cz. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  5. Parliament of the Czech Republic (1992), Constitution of the Czech Republic, Art. 84, archived from the original on 30 May 2012
  6. "Zákon č. 6/2002 Sb" (in Czech). Retrieved 30 January 2021.
  7. http://www.mzv.cz/hague/en/general_information_on_the_czech/political_system/index.html

See also

Government