of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
|Wallenstein Palace, Prague|
The Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic (Czech : Senát Parlamentu České republiky), usually referred to as Senate, is the upper chamber of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. The seat of the Senate is Wallenstein Palace in Prague.
The Senate has 81 members, chosen in single-seat constituencies through the two-round system. If no candidate receives a majority of votes in the first round, there is a second round between the two highest-placed candidates. The term of office for Senators is six years, and elections are staggered so that a third of the seats are up for election every two years. A candidate for the Senate does not need to be on a political party's ticket (unlike in the Chamber of Deputies).
The Senate has one President and four Vice-presidents.Its members participate in specialised committees and commissions. The Senate Chancellery has been created to provide professional, organisational and technical services. The Senate occupies several historical palaces in centre of Prague, in Malá Strana quarter. In 2005 its budget was 561.2 million CZK.
The Senate can delay a proposed law which was approved by the Chamber of Deputies but this veto can be overridden by an absolute majority (i.e. at least 101 of all 200 members) of the Chamber of Deputies in a repeated vote. The Senate, however, cannot be overridden when it votes on electoral law, constitutional law and on international treaties.
The Senate decides on confirmation of judges of the Constitutional Court, proposed by the President. It often uses this power to block unacceptable nominants and may propose new laws. However, the Senate does not get to vote on the country's budget or on confidence in the government, unlike the Chamber of Deputies.
The President of the Senate is the second-highest official of the Czech Republic for ceremonial purposes, after the President of the Republic, but without much real political power.
The Senate was established in constitutional law of the Czech National Council (ČNR) No. 1/1993 on 16 December 1992.The immediate reason for its creation was a need to find a place for members of the Federal Assembly, dissolved together with Czechoslovakia. Other reasons given were the positioning of the Senate as a safety device ("pojistka") correcting laws endorsed by lower chamber and as a power balancing tool against the dominance of a single party, especially regarding constitution and electoral law. Due to opposition by the Civic Democratic Alliance (who had members in ČNR, the new lower chamber, but not in the Federal Assembly) and those politicians fearing dilution of power the Senate was not set up. The first elections were held in 1996, with voter turnout around 35% (much lower than turnout for the lower chamber). Further elections were held in accordance with the Constitution every two years after that.
The Senate has received criticism[ by whom? ] for being essentially powerless and unnecessary for a country of the size of the Czech Republic. However, the likely most prominent critic of Czech Senate, prime minister Andrej Babiš, has expressed his plan to change the electoral into Chamber of Deputies into First-past-the-post voting, something that cannot be done without consent of the Senate, plus the Czech Constitution prohibits such system for lower chamber.
Results of the Czech Senate election, 2018.
|Party||First round||Second round||Seats|
|Civic Democratic Party||163,630||15.02||11||116,376||27.86||10||10||6||16||+7|
|Czech Social Democratic Party||100,478||9.22||5||33,887||8.10||1||1||12||13||-12|
|Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party||99,383||9.12||5||34,833||8.33||1||2||14||16||+2|
|Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia||80,371||7.38||1||3,578||0.86||0||0||0||0||-1|
|Mayors and Independents||79,025||7.25||4||47,317||11.31||4||5||5||10||+5|
|Freedom and Direct Democracy||70,110||6.44||0||–||–||–||0||0||0||0|
|Czech Pirate Party||66,281||6.08||3||17,528||4.20||1||1||0||1||0|
|Marek Hilšer for Senate||15,045||1.38||1||11,903||2.85||1||1||0||1||+1|
|Freeholder Party of the Czech Republic||12,265||1.13||1||7,176||1.72||0||0||1||1||0|
|Party of Common Sense||7,186||0.66||0||–||–||–||0||0||0|
|Movement for Prague 11||4,980||0.46||0||–||–||–||0||1||1|
|New Future for Liberec Region||4,744||0.44||0||–||–||–||0||0||0|
|SNK European Democrats||4,446||0.41||0||–||–||–||0||0||0|
|Czech National Social Party||4,438||0.41||0||–||–||–||0||0||0|
|Party of Civic Rights||3,286||0.30||0||–||–||–||0||0||0|
|Party of Free Citizens||2,884||0.26||0||–||–||–||0||0||0|
|Moravian Country Movement||2,641||0.24||0||–||–||–||0||0||0|
|Moravian and Silesian Pirate Party||1,789||0.16||0||–||–||–||0||0||0|
|Patriots of the Czech Republic||1,369||0.13||0||–||–||–||0||0||0|
|Order of Nation||1,172||0.11||0||–||–||–||0||0||0|
|Club of Committed Non-Party Members||1,001||0.09||0||–||–||–||0||0||0|
|Alternative for Czechia 2017||794||0.07||0||–||–||–||0||0||0|
|Party of State of Direct Democracy||499||0.05||0||–||–||–||0||0||0|
|Citizens of the Czech Republic||491||0.05||0||–||–||–||0||0||0|
|Alliance of National Forces||390||0.04||0||–||–||–||0||0||0|
|Enough is Enough||258||0.02||0||–||–||–||0||0||0|
|Roma Democratic Party||216||0.02||0||–||–||–||0||0||0|
|Mayors and Independents||3||5||11|
19 / 81
|Civic Democratic Party||3||10||5|
18 / 81
|Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party||7||2||3|
12 / 81
5 / 81
5 / 81
|Czech Social Democratic Party||2||1||—|
3 / 81
3 / 81
|Czech Pirate Party||—||1||1|
2 / 81
1 / 81
1 / 81
1 / 81
1 / 81
|Hradec Králové Democratic Club||—||—||1|
1 / 81
|Movement for Prague 11||1||—||—|
1 / 81
|Marek Hilšer for Senate||—||1||—|
1 / 81
|United Democrats — Association of Independents||1||—||—|
1 / 81
|Citizens Together — Independents||1||—||—|
1 / 81
1 / 81
4 / 81
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.
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, after the Dissolution of Czechoslovakia.
The president of the Czech Republic is the elected head of state of the Czech Republic and the commander-in-chief of the military of the Czech Republic.
The Constitution of the Czech Republic is the supreme law of the Czech Republic. The current constitution was adopted by the Czech National Council on 16 December 1992. It entered into force on 1 January 1993, replacing the 1960 Constitution of Czechoslovakia and the constitutional act No. 143/1968 Col., when Czechoslovakia gave way to the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic in a peaceful dissolution.
All elections in the Czech Republic are based on the principle of universal suffrage. Any adult citizen who is at least 18 years old can vote, except those who have been stripped of their legal capacities by a court, usually on the basis of mental illness. Elected representatives are elected directly by the citizens without any intermediaries. Election laws are not part of the constitution, but – unlike regular laws – they cannot be changed without the consensus of both houses of the Parliament. The Czech Republic uses a two-round plurality voting system for the Presidential and Senate elections and an open party-list proportional representation system for all other elections. The proportional representation system uses the D'Hondt method for allocating seats.
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The Parliament of the Czech Republic or just Parliament is the legislative body of the Czech Republic, seated in Malá Strana, Prague.
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