With over 99 percent of the vote counted, the right-of-centre opposition Civic Democrats appear to have won this year's general election with 35.3 percent of the vote, three percent ahead of the ruling Social Democrats with 32.3 percent. The three other parties that have crossed the 5-percent threshold needed to enter parliament are the Communists with just under 13 percent, the Christian Democrats with over 7 percent and the Green Party with over 6 percent.
Voter turnout has been calculated at just under 65 percent, some 6 percent more than in the previous general election four years ago.
There are 200 deputies in the chamber, elected to a four-year term of office under a proportional voting system. Unlike the Senate, it can be dissolved in the course of an electoral term, leading to early elections. This is the Czech Republic's main legislative body. The June elections are taking place at the end of the current parliament's four-year mandate.
26 parties are running in the election. Currently five are represented in the Chamber of Deputies: the left-of-centre Social Democrats
of Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, the two right-of-centre smaller parties in the ruling coalition (the Christian Democrats
and the Freedom Union-Democratic Union
), the main right wing opposition Civic Democrats
, and the hard left Communists
. (Opinion polls suggest that in the 2006 election the Green Party
also has a chance of crossing the 5% barrier needed to enter parliament.)
Later this year there will also be elections to the upper house, the Senate, which has 81 members, one third of whom come up for election every two years. Senators are elected by a simple majority system in 81 constituencies. The Senate can return bills to the lower house, but neither the Senate nor the President has a final power of veto.
The President is elected to a five-year term of office by both chambers of the Czech Parliament. Vaclav Klaus's first mandate runs out in 2008.