Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
The Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic (Template:Lang-cs), 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.
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). A candidate for 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. Its members participate in specialised committees and commissions.
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. In 2005 its budget was 561.2 million CZK.
The Senate can delay a proposed law which was approved by the Chamber of Deputies but this veto can be overridden by an absolute majority (i.e. at least 101 of all 200 members) of the Chamber of Deputies in a repeated vote.
Senators have, together with MP's, the right to take part in election of 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 country budget and is not expected to supervise the executive directly, unlike the Chamber of Deputies.
The President (Speaker or Chairperson) of the Senate is the second-highest official of the Czech Republic for ceremonial purposes, after the President of the Republic, but without any real power.
The Senate was established in constitutional law of the Czech National Council (?NR) No. 1/1993 on 16 December 1992. 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 ?NR, 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%).
The Senate has received criticism for being essentially powerless and unnecessary for a country of the size of the Czech Republic.
The Latest Election
was held 12. - 13. October 2012 and 19. - 20. October 2012. Results.
Senators and members of the Cabinet
Members of the Senate of the Czech Republic include these:
- Milada Emmerová - former Minister of Health
- Milan Št?ch
- Josef ?ihák
- Jaromír Št?tina
- Daniela Filipiová - former Minister of Health
- Libor Michálek
- Ji?í Dienstbier Jr.
- P?emysl Sobotka
- Jaromír Jermá?
- Jozef Regec
- František Bublan
- Ji?í ?unek
- Zden?k Škromach
- Tomio Okamura
- List of Presidents of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic