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Senát Parlamentu České republiky
Coat of arms or logo.
Type
Type Upper house
Leadership
Speaker
Přemysl Sobotka, (ODS)
since 15 December 2004
Structure
Members 81
Meeting place
Prague
Website
www.senat.cz
Czech Republic

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
the Czech Republic



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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.

Contents

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). Candidate to 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 approved by the Chamber of Deputies but this veto can be overridden by an absolute majority of all members of the Chamber of Deputies (i.e. 101 of 200) in a repeated vote.

Senators have, with others, the right to take part in electing 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 state budget and is not expected to supervise the executive directly, unlike the Chamber.

The President [Speaker or Chairperson] of the Senate is the second-highest official of the Czech Republic, after President of the Republic, for ceremonial purposes, 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%).

While this body has received criticism for being essentially powerless and unnecessary for a country of the size of the Czech Republic, it is unlikely to be dissolved. In order for dissolution to occur, a 3/5 majority of both chambers of Parliament is needed. In other words, the senate would have to vote itself out of existence.

Political parties

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Latest election

e • d  Summary of the 17 October, 18 October, 24 October and 25 October 2008 Czech Senate election results
Party Seats
before open elected after
Civic Democratic Party (Občanská demokratická strana) 41 9 3 35
Czech Social Democratic Party (Česká strana sociálně demokratická) 13 7 23 29
Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party (Křesťanská a demokratická unie – Československá strana lidová) 10 3 0 7
Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (Komunistická strana Čech a Moravy) 3 1 1 3
SNK European Democrats (SNK Evropští demokraté) 3 1 0 2
Freedom Union–Democratic Union (Unie svobody–Demokratická unie) 2 1 0 1
Liberal Reform Party (Liberální reformní strana) 1 1 0 0
Movement of Independents for Harmonious Development of Municipalities and Towns (Hnutí nezávislých za harmonický rozvoj obcí a měst) 1 1 0 0
Path of Change (Cesta změny) 1 1 0 0
Green Party (Strana zelených) 1 0 0 1
Independent Mayors for Region (Nezávislí starostové pro kraj) 1 0 0 1
Party for the Open Society (Strana pro otevřenou společnost) 1 0 0 1
Independents, Independent Associations (Nezávislí, Sdružení nezávislých) 3 2 0 1
Total (turnout 39.52% first round, 29.85% second round) 81 27 27 81
Source: Senate

Over time

Composition of the Senate of the Czech Republic
Party Seats
2004 2006 2007 by 2008 TOTAL
Civic Democratic Party (Občanská demokratická strana) 18 14 3 35
Czech Social Democratic Party (Česká strana sociálně demokratická) 6 23 29
Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party (Křesťanská a demokratická unie – Československá strana lidová) 3 4 7
Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (Komunistická strana Čech a Moravy) 1 1 1 3
SNK European Democrats (SNK Evropští demokraté) 2 2
Freedom Union–Democratic Union (Unie svobody–Demokratická unie) 1 1
Green Party (Strana zelených) 1 1
Independent Mayors for Region (Nezávislí starostové pro kraj) 1 1
Party for the Open Society (Strana pro otevřenou společnost) 1 1
Independents, Independent Associations (Nezávislí, Sdružení nezávislých) 1 1
Total 27 26 1 27 81
Source: Senate

Constituencies in which the election was held:

  • 2004: 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
  • 2006: 2, 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
  • 2007 by-election: 5
  • 2008: 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36, 39 42, 45, 48, 51, 54, 57, 60, 63, 66, 69, 72, 75, 78, 81

Senators and members of the Cabinet

Members of the Senate of the Czech Republic include these:

See also

References

  1. ^ Senators Senate website
  2. ^ Senate Committees Senat website
  3. ^ Senate Commissions Senate website
  4. ^ Seat of the Senate Senate website
  5. ^ Ústavní zmìny v dobì od pádu komunismu Bulletin Scientia Politica (Czech)

External links


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