Czech Political System
The Czech Republic is a sovereign, united and democratic state. Its political system is based on a written Constitution, that was elaborated in 1993 and consists of 8 heads and the Declaration of Human Rights. The Government is divided into tree branches – the legislative, represented by the Parliament
the executive, represented mainly by the President, and the Government
the judiciary, represented by courts at various levels
The Parliament consists of two chambers – the Chamber of Deputies (200 Deputies) the Senate (81 Senators).
These 281 people have the exclusive duty of making new laws. These two groups of Members of Parliament differ in the way in which they are elected and in the length of the terms they serve. The elections to the Chamber of Deputies take place every four years, while every two years one third of the Senators is renewed. When these times come, every citizen from the age of 18 can exercise the universal, equal, direct and secret right to vote.
The Parliament’s main task is to pass laws, ratify international treaties and decide on sending troops abroad.
The parliament’s law-making activities can be described as follows. A new law-to-be, a bill, can be proposed by a deputy, a group of deputies, the Senate, the government, or higher-level (local) authorities. At first, the bill goes to the Chamber of Deputies who debate and ultimately vote on it. A bill that has been passed by the Chamber of Deputies is then submitted to the Senate where the process begins again. The law (act) must be approved by the Government. A law must be signed by the head of the Ch. of Deputies, the Prime Minister, and the President.
The President is elected every five years by the Parliament, but cannot serve more than two terms in office in a row.
The President represents the republic abroad and concludes foreign treaties. He also has many duties in relation to the other bodies of Government: he appoints all judges, the General of the Army, ambassadors and other officials.
The President is also the commander-in-chef of the army. In the law-making process he can exercise the power of veto that means not signing a bill within the assigned 15 days and returning it to the Parliament.
In relation to the judicial power he can grant a pardon to a convicted person or declare an amnesty.
His task is also to call a general election. The leader of the winning party is then appointed the Prime Minister and on his suggestion the President makes appointments of all the other Members of the Government.
The Government is composed of the Prime Minister, the Vice-Premiers, and the Ministers. The hierarchy of the executive branch goes further down to the local authorities where the municipality is the smallest unit.
The municipal election takes place every four years. The winners form town councils, district authorities etc. The head of the municipal authorities is called a mayor. The Ministries are: Internal Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Defence, Justice, Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, Finance, Transport, Labour and Social Affairs, Education, Culture, and Health.
The judicial power is divided into a system of courts, staring with the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court and going down to the courts at all levels of regional government.
The courts check the constitutionality of the existing laws. They apply the law precisely and correctly in individual cases. They can rescind a law except for a constitutional one.
Judges serve for an unlimited period of time; they must have a good reputation, and must be professional lawyers.
Political parties in the Czech Republic
In the elections the citizens can choose from a variety of political parties.
Among these, three groups can be distinguished: the left wing, moderate, and the right wing or extremist. In our country the majority in the Chamber of Deputies and all the seats in the Government are retained by members of the coalition parties.
the right wing:
(ODS) the Civic Democratic Party, (ODA) the Civic Democratic Union
the Christian Party (KDU-ČSL)
The left wing:
the Social Democratic Party
and two extremist parties:
the Czech-Moravian Communist Party (KSČM) and Sládek’s Republicans (SPR-RSČ).