President Zeman sets autumn date for local and Senate elections

The elections will see 27 seats of the upper house of the Czech parliament up for grabs.


Written by ČTK Published on 06.04.2022 13:59:00 (updated on 06.04.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Czech local and Senate elections will be held on Friday, September 23, and Saturday, September 24, 2022. President Miloš Zeman set for the elections today, which will see 27 members of the upper house of the Czech parliament elected.

Law required Zeman to declare the election date by the end of June. His decision now requires PM Petr Fiala's (Civic Democrats, ODS) countersignature.

Senate elections are held every two years, with a third (27) of the 81 seats in the upper house up for grabs each time.

The last Senate elections for the 27 constituencies to be contested this year were in October 2016, and the previous local election in the same areas were held two years later on October 5-6.

The deadline for parties and independent candidates to submit their lists of candidates for the elections is July 19.

Most of the 27 senators whose mandate expires this year will seek re-election. These include four out of the five members of the upper house leadership, including Senate Chairman Miloš Vystrčil (ODS). Among those not seeking re-election is Anna Hubáčková (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL), who was appointed environment minister in Petr Fiala's five-party cabinet late last year.

In the latest local elections, the highest number of seats in town assemblies were gained (as usual) by various local groups of independent candidates. The best-performing political party was KDU-CSL, with 3,645 seats, followed by the Mayors and Independents (STAN) with 2,601, ODS with 2,600, the Social Democrats (CSSD) with 1,955, and ANO with 1,684 seats. ANO won in big towns including Brno and Ostrava, but only came fifth in Prague.

Ballot papers will be distributed to voters by September 20. On September 23, polling stations will be open from 14:00 to 22:00, and on September 24 from 8:00 to 14:00.

The outcome of the elections won't exert a significant influence on the functioning of the government. The Czech Senate's primary function is to review legislation passed by the lower house of parliament.

Nonetheless, the senate exerts considerable influence on the wider political environment. Senate leaders played a central role in calls to trigger Article 66 of the Czech Constitution to remove President Zeman from power last year. Now, senators are calling for Zeman to resign over a controversial presidential pardon.

The constituencies electing new senators this year are evenly distributed throughout the country, so it may be expected that a spread of senators from the main political parties will be elected. The elections will serve as an indication of how the coalition government is faring in the court of public opinion, and whether perceptions have changed noticeably since it won the general election last October.

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