Senate of the Czech Republic
of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
Parlamentu České republiky
|Founded||1996 (first elections)|
|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.
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The Senate has 81 members, elected for six years, every two years one third of them, in one-seat constituencies through two rounds majority system (the second round is between two candidates with highest number of votes from the first round – if no candidate obtains 50+% majority in the first round). A candidate for the Senate does not need to be on a political party's ticket (unlike the lower chamber).
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.
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 (Speaker or Chairperson) 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 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 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 (Which, if used in the last elections, would give him nearly 100% of all seats), and he cannot do that without the consent of the Senate, where his party (ANO) doesn't have a strong position, which has raised suspicions, that his plan to abolish senate is motivated by his desire for more power and ability to change the constitutional system of Czech republic to suit him.
Results of the Czech Senate election, 2016
|Party||First round||Second round||Seats|
|Czech Social Democratic Party||128,830||14.62||55,622||13.12||2||23||25||–10|
|Civic Democratic Party||103,216||11.71||42,551||10.03||3||6||9||–5|
|Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia||83,741||9.50||5,737||1.35||0||1||1||0|
|Mayors and Independents||43,234||4.91||25,389||5.99||2||3||5||+1|
|Mayors for Liberec Region||18,698||2.12||16,579||3.91||1||1||2||+1|
|Dawn - National Coalition||16,078||1.82||–||–||0||0||0||0|
|Citizens Together – Independent||12,892||1.46||10,804||2.55||1||0||1||+1|
|Czech Pirate Party||7,352||0.83||–||–||0||1||1||0|
|Freedom and Direct Democracy||5,988||0.68||–||–||0||0||0||0|
|Movement for Prague 11||4,702||0.53||9,639||2.27||1||0||1||+1|
|Party of Civic Rights||4,618||0.52||–||–||0||1||1||0|
|Party of Free Citizens||4,568||0.52||–||–||0||0||0||0|
|New future for the Liberec Region||2,003||0.23||–||–||0||0||0||0|
|Independent Candidates to the Senate||1,962||0.22||–||–||0||0||0||0|
|Ústecká Citizens' Forum||1,961||0.22||–||–||0||0||0||0|
|SNK European Democrats||1,882||0.21||–||–||0||0||0||0|
|Order of Nation||1,723||0.20||–||–||0||0||0||0|
|Association of Independent Candidates 1||1,685||0.19||–||–||0||0||0||0|
|South City – Our Home||1,560||0.18||–||–||0||0||0||0|
|Czech Republic Patriots||632||0.07||–||–||0||0||0||0|
|Czechoslovak Community Party||554||0.06||–||–||0||0||0||0|
|Czech National Socialist Party||133||0.02||–||–||0||0||0||0|
|Source: Volby.cz (results), Volby.cz (turnout)|
|Czech Social Democratic Party||22||12||1||13||10||2||25|
|Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party||—||2||—||2||5||7||16|
|Civic Democratic Party||3||8||—||4||2||3||10|
|Mayors and Independents||—||—||—||—||2||3||9|
|Czech Pirate Party||—||—||—||1||—||—||2|
|Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia||1||—||—||1||—||—||2|
|Party of Civic Rights||—||—||—||—||1||1||2|
|Freeholder Party of the Czech Republic||—||—||—||—||1||—||1|
Constituencies in which the election was held:
- Senators Senate website
- Senate Committees Senat website
- Senate Commissions Senate website
- Seat of the Senate[permanent dead link] Senate website
- Ústavní zmìny v dobì od pádu komunismu Bulletin Scientia Politica (in Czech)
- Name of "nominating party" (navrhující strana).
- Turnout calculated by dividing number of votes cast; Czech Statistical Office present figures summing up of all voters who had signed the voter register and get ballot envelopes (vydané obálky), even if they did not cast their votes.
- Official website
- History and perspective of bicameral system in the Czech Republic[permanent dead link]