Saturday, June 13, 2009

Czech Government & Recent Elections

Since I'm getting ready to relocate to the Czech Republic in a couple of weeks, here's some info about the government and its recent elections. First of all, Czechoslovakia no longer exists. On 1 January 1993, "the Velvet Divorce" established the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The Czech Republic is a parliamentary democracy with three branches of government - executive, administrative and judicial. The president is elected by Parliament and serves a five-year term. The Prime Minister (PM) is appointed by the president. Václav Klaus is the current President who is the head of state. Jan Fischer is the current PM who is the head of the government and exercises supreme executive power. PM Fischer was appointed to lead a caretaker government, until elections are held in October 2009, when former PM Mirek Topolánek received a vote of no confidence in March 2009.

The legislative branch (Parliament) consists of the Chamber of Deputies (Poslanecká Sněmovna) and the Senate (Senát). Deputies are elected by popular vote to serve 4-year terms while senators are elected by popular vote to serve 6-year terms. The judicial branch consists of the Supreme Court. The chairman and deputy chairmen are appointed by the president for 10-year terms.

Elections for the Chamber of Deputies were held this week with 64% turnout. The Civic Democratic Party (ODS) won 35.58% of the vote and will have 81 of the 200 seats. The Social Democrats (ČSSD) won 32.32% for 74 seats. The Communists (KSČM) scored 12.81 percent of the vote and will have 26 seats. The Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) took 7.22% for 13 seats while the Green Party earned 6 seats with 6.29%.

Update:  The policy changed and Czechs now vote for President.

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