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Senate of the Czech Republic

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Senate of the Czech Republic

Senate
of the Parliament of the Czech Republic

Senát
Parlamentu České republiky
Type
Type Upper house
Leadership
President Milan Štěch, ČSSD
Since 24 November 2010
First Vice-President Alena Gajdůšková, ČSSD
Vice-President Přemysl Sobotka, ODS
Vice-President Miluše Horská, independent
Vice-President Zdeněk Škromach, ČSSD
Structure
Seats 81
Political groups      ČSSD (41 seats)
     ODS (25 seats)
     KDU-ČSL (5 seats)
     KSČM (2 seats)
     TOP 09 (3 seats)
     other (5 seats)
Elections
Voting system Two-round system
Last election 12–13 October 2012
19–20 October 2012
Meeting place
Wallenstein Palace, Prague
Website
www.senat.cz

The Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic (Czech: Senát Parlamentu České republiky), usually referred to as Senát, is the upper chamber of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. The seat of the Senate is Wallenstein Palace in Prague.

Structure

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 has one President and four Vice-Presidents.[1] Its members participate in specialised committees and commissions.[2][3]

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.[4] In 2005 its budget was 561.2 million CZK.

Powers

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.

Senators have, together with MP's, the right to take part in election of the President of the Republic and the judges of the Constitutional Court, and may propose new laws. However, the Senate does not get to vote on the country budget and is not expected to supervise the executive directly, 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 any real power.

History

The Senate was established in constitutional law of the Czech National Council (ČNR) No. 1/1993 on 16 December 1992.[5] 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.

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 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006 with steadily decreasing turnout (the lowest ever was around 10%, in many constituencies below 20%).

The Senate has received criticism for being essentially powerless and unnecessary for a country of the size of the Czech Republic.

Political parties

The Latest Election

was held 12. - 13. October 2012 and 19. - 20. October 2012. Results.

2010 Election

e • d Summary of the 15–16 and 22–23 October 2010 Czech Senate election results
Parties First round Second round Seats
Won
Not
Up
Total
Seats
±
Votes % Run-off Votes %
Czech Social Democratic Party 290,090 25.28 22 299,526 44.02 12 29 41 +12
Civic Democratic Party 266,311 23.21 19 225,708 33.17 8 17 25  –11
TOP 09Mayors and Independents 165,277 14.40 5 51,310 7.54 2 3 5 –4
Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party 87,182 7.60 3 42,990 6.32 2 3 5 +1
bgcolor=""| NorthBohemians.cz 20,062 1.75 2 23,279 3.42 2 0 2 +2
Independent candidates 21,551 1.88 1 14,944 2.20 1[6] 0 1 +1
Public Affairs 57,179 4.98 1 11,973 1.76 0 0 0 ±0
Independents (NEZÁVISLÍ) 10,739 0.94 1 10,707 1.57 0 0 0 ±0
Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia 117,374 10.23 0 0 2 2 –1
Sovereignty – Jana Bobošíková Bloc 40,295 3.51 0 0 0 0 ±0
Party of Civic Rights – Zemanovci 17,195 1.50 0 0 0 0 ±0
Green Party 10,473 0.91 0 0 0 0 ±0
Party of Free Citizens 5,447 0.47 0 0 0 0 ±0
Democratic Green Party (Demokratická strana zelených) 3,348 0.29 0 0 0 0 ±0
Czech National Social Party 1,791 0.16 0 0 0 0 ±0
Czech National Socialist Party 1,773 0.15 0 0 0 0 ±0
Bohemian Crown 828 0.07 0 0 0 0 ±0
Others 30,475 2.66 0 0 0 0 ±0
Totals 1,147,390 100.00 54 680,167 100.00 27 54 81

Over time

Composition of the Senate of the Czech Republic
Party Seats
2008 2010 2011 by 2012 TOTAL
Czech Social Democratic Party 22 12 1 13 48
Civic Democratic Party 3 8 4 15
TOP 09Mayors and Independents 2 2 4
Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party 2 2 4
Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia 1 1 2
NorthBohemians.cz 2 2
Czech Pirate Party 1 1
Green Party 1 1
Ostravak Movement 1 1
Independents 1 2 3
Total 26 27 1 27 81
Source: Senate

Constituencies in which the election was held:

  • 2008: 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 33, 36, 39 42, 45, 48, 51, 54, 57, 60, 63, 66, 69, 72, 75, 78, 81
  • 2010: 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34, 37, 40, 43, 46, 49, 52, 55, 58, 61, 64, 67, 70, 73, 76, 79
  • 2011 by-election: 30
  • 2012: 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, 29, 32, 35, 38, 41, 44, 47, 50, 53, 56, 59, 62, 65, 68, 71, 74, 77, 80

Senators and members of the Cabinet

Members of the Senate of the Czech Republic include these:

See also

  • List of Presidents of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic

References

External links

  • Official website
  • History and perspective of bicameral system in the Czech Republic

Coordinates: 50°05′24″N 14°24′19″E / 50.09000°N 14.40528°E / 50.09000; 14.40528

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