Senate and Municipal Elections 2006
Senate and municipal elections take place in the Czech Republic on October
20 and 21. A week later, on October 27 and 28, a second and more decisive
round of Senate elections will be held.
Elections to the Czech Senate
The Senate is the upper chamber of the Czech Parliament. A third
of its 81
seats are contested every two years. This means that unlike the Chamber of
Deputies the Senate can never be dissolved, making the upper chamber a
stabilising element of the Czech parliamentary system.
The 81 seats are voted on by a total of 81 constituencies. Every two years
voters in 27 of those constituencies get to decide who will represent them
in the Senate for the following six years.
This year 204 candidates are in the running for a place in the upper
chamber. If a candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote in the
first round he or she automatically becomes a senator. In all other
constituencies there is a second, run-off election a week later between
the two candidates who received the most votes in the first round.
In terms of law-making, the Senate rarely initiates legislation itself.
For the main part it assesses laws which have been approved by the Chamber
of Deputies; it can return these laws with suggested amendments to
deputies. A Senate veto can be overturned by an absolute majority of all
deputies in the lower house.
The Senate also plays an important role in presidential elections; members
of both chambers of parliament decide on the highest state office.
Municipal elections are held simultaneously with the first round of Senate
elections. In the Czech Republic over 200,000 candidates are standing for a
total of 62,483 seats on municipal authorities. In the capital Prague
representatives of individual city districts are also elected.
There is no direct connection between municipal elections and elections to
the parliament of the Czech Republic, made up of the Chamber of Deputies
and the Senate. However their results are being seen as an indicator of
the overall mood after elections to the Chamber of Deputies which took
place at the start of June but ended in political stalemate.