Politics of Czech Republic
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Politics of Czech Republic
Benedict S. Gombocz
Politically, Czech Republic is multi-party parliamentary representative democratic republic. According to Czech Republic’s constitution, President is head of state whereas PM is head of government, executing supreme executive power. Legislature is bicameral, with Chamber of Deputies (Poslanecká sněmovna) and Senate (Senát).
President of Czech Republic is elected by collective session of parliament for term of five years (limited to two consecutive terms). President is official head of state with restricted specific powers, most significantly to return laws to parliament, appoint Constitutional Court judges for Senate’s consent, and dissolve Parliament under specific special and uncommon conditions; also nominates PM, along with other members of cabinet on proposition by PM. Václav Klaus, ex-President of Czech Republic, ex-PM and chairman of Civic Democrats (ODS) is still one of the nation’s most popular politicians, much like predecessor Václav Havel. PM is head of government and manages considerable powers, such as right to set agenda for foreign and domestic policy, mobilize parliamentary majority, and select governmental ministers.
Parliament (Parlament České republiky) has two chambers. Chamber of Deputies (Poslanecká sněmovna) has 200 members, elected to term of four years by proportional representation with 5% election threshold. There are 14 voting districts equal to nation’s administrative regions. Chamber of Deputies, originally Czech National Council, has powers and duties of new defunct federal parliament of former Czechoslovakia. Senate (Senát) has 81 members, in single-seat constituencies elected by two-round runoff voting for term of six year, with one-third revived every even year in autumn; first election (for differing terms) in 1996. This is modeled after U.S. Senate, even though constituency is of approximately same size and system is two-round runoff voting. Senate is not popular among public and endures low election turnout (overall about 30% in first round and 20% in second).
The nation’s highest court of appeals is Supreme Court. Constitutional Court, which governs on constitutional issues, is nominated by president with Senate assent; its 15 members serve ten-year terms. Constitutional Court justices are required to retire at age 70. Supreme Administrative Court is third arm of Czech judicature.
Government: Parliamentary republic President: Miloš Zeman Prime Minister: Petr Nečas Legislature: Parliament Upper house: Senate Lower house: Chamber of Deputies
Czech Republic’s legislative body, based in Prague. Composed of two chambers, both of which are elected in direct elections: • Lower House: Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic • Upper House: Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic Executes competencies normal in parliamentary systems: holds and passes bills, has right to change Constitution, and approve international agreements; if needed, it declares war, approves appearance of foreign military forces in Czech Republic, or despatch of Czech military forces overseas. Both chambers also elect President at joint session.
Czech Social Democratic Party (Česká strana sociálně demokratická, ČSSD) Civic Democratic Party (Občanská demokratická strana, ODS) TOP 09 with the support of Mayors and Independents (Tradice Odpovědnost Prosperita 09, TOP09) Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (Komunistická strana Čech a Moravy, KSČM) Public Affairs (Věci veřejné, VV) SNK European Democrats (SNK Evropští demokraté, SNK-ED)
Coalition for Republic – Republican Party of Czechoslovakia* (Sdružení pro republiku - Republikánská strana Československa, SPRRSČ) Czech National Social Party (Česká strana národně sociální, CSNS) Czech Pirate Party (Česká pirátská strana, CPS) Democratic Party of Greens (Demokratická strana zelených, DSZ) European Democratic Party (Evropská demokratická strana, EDS) Green Party (Strana zelených, SZ) Liberal Reform Party (Liberální reformní strana, LiRA) Moravané National Party* (Národní strana, NS) National Socialists – 21st Century Left (Národní socialisté – levice 21. století, NS-LEV 21) Party for the Open Society (Strana pro otevřenou společnost, SOS) Party of Civic Rights – Zemanovci (Strana Práv Občanů ZEMANOVCI, SPOZ) Party of Democratic Socialism (Strana demokratického socialismu, SDS) Party of Free Citizens (Strana svobodných občanů, Svobodní) Right Bloc (Volte Pravý Blok, VPB) Sovereignty - Jana Bobošíková Bloc (SUVERENITA - blok Jany Bobošíkové) Workers’ Party of Social Justice (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti, DSSS) • *Dissolved party
Freedom Union – Democratic Union (Unie svobody - Demokratická unie, US-DEU) Christian Democratic Party (Křesťanskodemokratická strana, KDS) Civic Forum (Občanské fórum, OF) Civic Democratic Alliance (Občanská demokratická aliance, ODA) Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (Komunistická strana Československa, KSČ) Left Bloc (Levý blok) Liberal Social Union (Liberálně sociální unie, LSU) Movement for Autonomous Democracy – Party for Moravia and Silesia (Hnutí za samosprávnou demokracii - Společnost pro Moravu a Slezsko, HZAD - SPMS)
Born 28 September 1944 in Kolín. Third and current President of Czech Republic; took office on 8 March 2013. Previously served as PM of Czech Republic from 1998-2002. As leader of Czech Social Democratic Party in the 1990s, he made it one of the nation’s biggest parties. Served as Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies, lower house of Czech Republic’s parliament, from 1996-1998. Was elected President of Czech Republic in January 2013. Is first president in Czech history to be elected directly; both of his two predecessors, the deceased Václav Havel, and Václav Klaus, were elected by Parliament.
Born 19 November 1964 in Uherské Hradiště. Current PM of Czech Republic; was sworn into office on 28 June 2010. Also current leader of Civic Democratic Party. Previously served as Deputy PM and Minister of Labour and Social Affairs from 4 September 2006 until 8 May 2009. Became member of Civic Democratic Party (ODS) in 1991. Replaced Mirek Topolánek as leader of ODS in March 2010, having announced his aim to stand for position of the party’s chairman following May 2010 Czech legislative election, in which Civic Democratic Party won second place.
Social-democratic political party. Founded on 7 April 1878 in Austria-Hungary and represented Kingdom of Bohemia in Austrian parliament. Its function in political life of the empire was one of the factors that led to establishing independent Czechoslovak Republic. Became one of leading parties of first Czechoslovak Republic after Austria-Hungary dissolved. Obtained most seats after 1998 parliamentary election, but failed to form coalition government; consequently, the party created minority government under party leader and current president Miloš Zeman. Won 2002 legislative election, acquiring 70 of 200 representatives in Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic; then-chairman Vladimír Špidla was elected PM along with two smaller parties: Christian Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People’s Party and Freedom Union-Democratic Union until he was forced to resign in 2004 upon ČSSD’s loss in European Parliament election. Its current chairman is Jiří Paroubek, having become chairman in 2006 after Stanislav Gross, who served from 26 June 2004 until 26 April 2005; Gross resigned following scandal which emerged because of his failure to explain source of financial resources used to pay for his house.
Biggest conservative political party in Czech Republic. Has 53 seats in Chamber of Deputies, making it Czech Republic’s second-biggest party. Has participated in government since 2006, in coalition with TOP 09 and Public Affairs, with its leader Petr Nečas as PM since June 2010. Liberal-conservative and is notable for being Eurosceptic. It is modelled after British Conservative Party, with whom Civic Democrats are allied through Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists and ECR group; it is internationally aligned with International Democratic Union. Was founded by President Václav Klaus in 1991 as pro- free market wing of Civic Forum. Won 1992 legislative election, having remained in government for most of Czech Republic’s independence. Former leader Mirek Topolánek was PM from 2006 until 2009. Its current leader is PM Petr Nečas, who replaced Topolánek in 2010. Lost 28 seats in 2010 legislative election and finished second, but as biggest party of centre; created centre- right government, instilling Nečas as PM.