Czech Politics

An overview of the Czech political system

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 21.11.2008 12:58 (updated on 21.11.2008) Reading time: 3 minutes

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 21.11.2008 12:58 (updated on 21.11.2008) Reading time: 3 minutes

After ages of political turmoil, the Czech government slowly continues to evolve. The current political status is, according to the constitution, a multi-party, parliamentary democracy. Three branches of the Czech state, which are similar to the US government, exist: Executive, including the cabinet and president; legislative representing parliament, comprised of the Chamber of Deputies (Poslanecká sněmovna) and the Senate (Senát); and judicial, the highest court in the land.

The president (Václav Klaus since 2003) is elected by parliament every five years. He can nominate judges, dismiss the parliament in certain situations, and veto laws. The president also appoints the Prime Minister (Miroslav Topolánek since 2006), as well as other cabinet members at the PM´s suggestion. Only those political parties that have gained at least 5% of votes through elections are represented in the Chamber of Deputies, while the Senate mandates are attained by majority vote.

The current parliamentary parties are:

Civic Democratic Party (ODS)
Občanská demokratická strana
Party Chairman: Mirek Topolánek (Prime Minister)
Seats in Parliament: 81
Political Orientation: Center-right

Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD)
Česká strana sociálně demokratická
Party Chairman: Jiří Paroubek
Seats in Parliament: 74
Political Orientation: Center-left

Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM)

Komunistická strana Čech a Moravy
Party Chairman: Vojtěch Filip
Seats in Parliament: 26
Political Orientation: Left

Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People´s Party (KDU-ČSL)
Křesťanská a demokratická unie – Československá strana lidová
Party Chairman: Jiří Čunek
Seats in Parliament: 13
Political Orientation: Right

Green Party (SZ)
Strana Zelených
Party Chairman: Martin Bursík (Minister of the Environment)
Seats in Parliament: 6
Political Orientation: Centrist

After the 2006 elections resulted in a stalemate, awarding both the left and right 100 seats each, the government is now led by a coalition of the ODS, KDU-ČSL, and the Green Party.

The Czech Republic is a member of NATO, the EU, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Interpol, the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the United Nations.

But however undeniable the rapid development and progress of the country´s political institutions and administrative policies, political experts point to the still-lingering challenges the nation faces: reforming the health care and pension systems and addressing some serious environmental issues. For the people of the Czech Republic, however, the current hot-button issue surely isn´t healthcare – it´s the US government´s proposal to build a missile defense facility here. If approved, construction of the facility is slated for 2011. To be continued…

CZECH REPUBLIC POPULATION STATISTICS
(ALL STATISTICS ARE COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACTBOOK; DATED JULY, 2008 UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED.)

POPULATION: 10,220,911
AGE STRUCTURE:
    0 – 14 YEARS: 13.8%
    15 – 64 YEARS: 71.2%
    65 YEARS AND OVER: 15.1%
LIFE EXPECTANCY AT BIRTH:
    TOTAL POPULATION: 76.62 YEARS
    MALE: 73.34 YEARS
    FEMALE: 80.08 YEARS
POPULATION GROWTH RATE: -0.082%
BIRTH RATE: 8.89 BIRTHS/1000 POPULATION
DEATH RATE: 10.69 DEATHS/1000 POPULATION
NET MIGRATION RATE: 0.97 MIGRANT(S)/1,000 POPULATION
INFANT MORTALITY RATE: 3.83 DEATHS/1000 LIVE BIRTHS
HIV/AIDS ADULT PREVALENCE RATE: LESS THAN 0.1% (2001 EST.)
PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS: 2,500 (2001 EST.)
HIV/AIDS DEATHS: LESS THAN 10 (2001 EST.)
ETHNIC GROUPS (2001 CENSUS):
    CZECH: 90.4%
    MORAVIAN: 3.7%
    SLOVAK: 1.9%
    OTHER: 4%
RELIGIONS (2001 CENSUS):
    ROMAN CATHOLIC: 26.8%
    PROTESTANT: 2.1%
    OTHER: 3.3%
    UNSPECIFIED: 8.8%
    UNAFFILIATED: 59%
LITERACY: 99% (2003 EST.)
LABOR FORCE: 5.36 MILLION (2007 EST.)
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 6.6% (2006 EST.)
INFLATION RATE (CONSUMER PRICES): 2.8% (2007 EST.)

 

The Expats.cz Survival Guide & Business Directory 2008/9 was edited by Elizabeth A. Haas & Jason Pirodsky, and written by Laura Baranik, David Creighton, Melissa Deerson, Elizabeth A. Haas, Jacy Meyer, Jason Pirodsky, and Dominic Swire, with contributions from Sarah Castille, Maie Crumpton, James Dean, Julie Fishman, Tascita Gibson, Virginia Harr, Eva Howlings, Sue Legro, Adam Daniel Mezei, Natalie O’Hara, Boban Stemankovich, and Wendy Wrangham. Proofreading by The Villa.

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