The Czech Republic is a parliamentary democracy. Its supreme law is the Constitution of the Czech Republic together with the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. In its current form the Constitution has been valid since 1 January 1993, i.e. since the date the independent Czech state was established, as a result of the separation of Czechoslovakia.
Power is divided into legislative (Czech Parliament), executive (Czech Government and the President of the Republic) and judicial.
The Parliament of the Czech Republic is made up of two chambers – the House of Parliament
and the Senate
. Every citizen who is at least 18 years old is entitled to vote for candidates to the House of Parliament and the Senate.
House of Parliament
The House of Parliament is made up of 200 members, who are elected once every four years. The election system is based on the principles of proportionate representation. A new Czech Government is established on the basis of the results of these elections.
Every citizen of the Czech Republic, who is entitled to vote and is at least 21 years of age, can be elected to the House of Parliament.
Members are elected as representatives of individual political parties, after their election the parties create parliamentary clubs in the House of Parliament.
The current composition of the political clubs in the House of Parliament is as follows:
Civic Democratic Party Parliamentary Club (78)
Czech Social Democratic Party Parliamentary Club (71)
Bohemia and Moravia Communist Party Parliamentary Club (26)
Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People’s Party Parliamentary Club (9)
Green Party Parliamentary Club (4)
Not classified (12) – Members who have left their political party (club), on behalf of which they were elected during the elections, for various reasons, are identified as not classified.
Members are also divided into 18 Committees of the House of Parliament. The committees should perform the function of expert guarantor for a specific field of social and political life within the country. Thus, for instance, the budget committee is concerned with state budget matters; the agricultural committee comments on legislation concerning the country’s agrarian policy. The foreign committee of the House of Parliament is concerned with the foreign policy and the policy on foreigners in the Czech Republic.
The next elections to the House of Parliament will take place in May 2010.
Important jurisdiction of the House of Parliament:
Discusses and approves laws
A member or group of members is entitled to draft bills
Decides on the appearance of the state budget
Is entitled to declare lack of confidence in the Government
Elects the President of the Republic during a joint meeting with senators
The Senate was established in 1996. 81 senators are elected with a six-year term of office according to the principles of the majority election system. The elections take place every two years, when one third of the Senators are newly elected (during the first elections one third of the senators were only elected for a two-year term of office, a third for a four-year term of office and a third for a six-year term of office. At the next elections after two years one third of the senators, with a “two-year term of office“ were replaced with new senators who were elected for a six-year term of office). Every citizen of the Czech Republic, who is entitled to vote and is at least 40 years old, can be elected to the Senate.
The Senate is conceived as a counterweight to the House of Parliament, as an element establishing conditions for a better quality legislative process and as an element of Parliamentary continuity in the event that the House of Parliament is dissolved.
Important jurisdiction of the Senate:
Discusses and approves drafts of bills, which it receives from the House of Parliament
Expresses its (dis)agreement with international treaties
Expresses its (dis)agreement with declarations of war, with residence of foreign armies in the Czech Republic or with the dispatch of armed forces outside the Czech Republic
Elects the President of the Republic at a joint meeting of both chambers
Expresses its consent to the appointment of Constitutional Court judges
Only the Senate may file an action with the Constitutional Court against the President of the Republic for treason
Submits proposals for the conferral or award of state distinctions
The Senate is not authorised to make any decisions regarding the Czech Republic budget
The President of the Republic and the Czech Government are representatives of executive power within the country.
The Government is the supreme body of executive power. It answers to the House of Parliament for its actions. As well as the Government, ministries and other administrative bodies are also part of the executive power. These can only be established and their jurisdiction defined by the law.
The actions of the Government issue mainly from the policy statement by the Government, with which the head of the Government appears before the House of Parliament. If this policy is approved and its members express their confidence in the Government during a vote, the Government may start to function and execute matters within its jurisdiction.
The President of the Republic is the head of state and the supreme commander of the armed forces.
The presidential elections are based on a secret, general, equal and direct voting right that is possessed by all Czech citizens above the age of 18. The candidates must meet the conditions for the position of the president, which are similar to those for a senator, i. e. Czech citizenship and age above 40. A person can be elected to the office no more than twice. The elections must take place in the last 60 days of the current president's mandate, at maximum 30 days before its end. The elections are announced by the President of the Senate. A President is elected once every five years. The President’s term of office begins when he takes his vow.
Important jurisdiction of the President of the Republic:
Appoints and dismisses the head and other members of the Government and accepts their resignation, dismisses the Government and accepts its resignation
Summons meetings of the House of Parliament
Dissolves the House of Parliament
Pardons and moderates punishments imposed by the court, instructs that criminal proceedings not be initiated and if these are initiated, orders that they be suspended; expunges convictions, is authorised to confer amnesty.
Is entitled to return an accepted law to Parliament, with the exception of constitutional laws
The current President of the Czech Republic is Miloš Zeman (https://www.hrad.cz/en/president-of-the-cr)
. The first president of the independent Czech Republic was Václav Havel (http://www.vaclavhavel.cz/index.php?sec=1&id=1).
Courts of Law
Judicial power is executed in the name of the republic by independent courts of law. During the execution of their function the judges should be independent and no one may threaten their objectivity. The court system is made up of the Supreme Court
, Supreme Administrative Court, Supreme, Regional and District Courts.
The Constitutional Court
, which is made up of 15 judges, who are appointed for a term of ten years, oversees adherence to the constitution.