Czech Republic

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic was established on 1 January 1993 following the division of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic into two independent sovereign States.

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The system of government of the Czech Republic takes the form of a parliamentary democracy. The Constitution of the Czech Republic proclaims it as a unitary state divided into eight administrative regions. The Czech Republic is a civil law state.

Constitution: The Constitution of the Czech Republic, was adopted on 16 December 1992 and entered into force on 1 January 1993 (hereinafter, the "Constitution"). The Constitution embodies ratified and promulgated international agreements on human rights and fundamental freedoms. According to Article 10 of the Constitution, ratified international treaties and conventions supercede domestic legislation. Other sources of Czech law are the Acts of Parliament and secondary (implementing) legislation.

Legislative power in the Czech Republic is vested in a bicameral Parliament. The Parliament consists in two chambers, the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. The Senate is constituted of 81 seats, with members elected by popular vote for six-year terms and one third of the total number of Senators elected every two years. The Chamber of Deputies is made up of 200 seats, with members elected for four-year terms. Elections to the Chamber of Deputies are held by secret ballot on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage and pursuant to the principles of proportional representation (Art. 18(1) Constitution). Elections to the Senate are held by secret ballot on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage, pursuant to the principles of the majority system (Art 18 (2) Constitution).

Legislative procedure: A Deputy, a group of Deputies, the Senate, the Government, or the representative body of a superior self-governing territorial unit may introduce Bills. The Government has the right to review and comment on all draft laws. If the Government does not express its opinion on a Bill (draft law) within thirty days of the day on which the Bill was delivered to it, it is deemed to have approved the Bill. Prior to acceptance, the Bill must be subjected to a debate and voted upon by the Chamber of Deputies, following this the draft law is referred to the Senate for its acceptance. If the Senate defeats a Bill, the Chamber of Deputies must take a second vote thereon. If the Senate returns a Bill to the Chamber of Deputies with amendments, the Chamber of Deputies votes on the version amended and passed by the Senate. If the Chamber of Deputies does not pass the Bill in the version approved by the Senate, it takes a new vote on the Bill in the version in which it was referred to the Senate. A Bill that has passed through all stages of voting in Parliament is delivered to the President for review. The President may return an enacted law (with the exception of Constitutional Acts) to Parliament together with a substantiation of the return within fifteen days of the day the law was referred to him (Art. 50 Constitution). The Chamber of Deputies must take a new vote on the returned law. If the Chamber of Deputies upholds the returned law by majority vote of all Deputies, the law is promulgated. If not, the law is considered defeated.

The supreme organ of executive power is the Government, comprised of the President, Deputy Ministers and Ministers.

The President is elected for a term of five years, at a joint meeting of both Chambers of Parliament. The President may hold office for a maximum of two successive terms. The candidate who obtains a majority of votes of all Deputies and a majority of votes of all Senators is elected to the office of the President. In the case where no candidate succeeds in obtaining a majority of votes in the first round, a second round of voting is held within fourteen days. Those candidates who win the largest number of votes in the Chamber of Deputies and the candidates who win the largest number of votes in the Senate take part in the second round of elections. If several candidates obtain an equally high number of votes in the Chamber of Deputies or in the Senate, the votes cast for such candidates in both Chambers are summed up. The candidate who obtains the largest number of votes passes through to the second round. If the President is not elected in the second round, a third round of elections is held within fourteen days, in which the candidate from the second round, who obtains a majority of the votes of the Deputies and Senators present, will be elected (Art.58 Constitution).

The powers of the President include the appointment and re-calling of the Prime Minister and other members of the Government as well as the acceptance of their resignations.

The Government is held accountable to the Chamber of Deputies. The President appoints the Prime Minister and, pursuant to his suggestion, appoints other members of the Government. The adoption of any Government resolution requires the obtainment of an absolute majority of votes, as the Government makes decision as one body. In order to implement law, within the scope of its authority, the Government has the right to issue decrees.

Independent courts exercise judicial power. The Judicial system in the Czech Republic consists of the Supreme Court, the Supreme Administrative Court and supreme, regional and district courts. Pursuant to Article 62 of the Constitution the President, with approval of the Senate, appoints the Justices of the Constitutional Court, its Chief Justice and the Assistant Chief Justices. The President also appoints from among the Justices of the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice and Assistant Chief Justices of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court is the highest judicial authority (excluding matters which are within the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court). Its role is to control final and conclusive decisions of the High Courts and ensure uniform interpretation of law by these Courts and Courts in their district. The Supreme Court the exercise of this jurisdiction includes; deciding on extraordinary legal remedies against the decisions of High Courts, delivering opinions concerning the interpretation of laws and secondary legislation, deciding in cases specifically provided for in legislation, upholding final and conclusive decisions made by foreign courts in the territory of the Czech Republic, that is, deciding whether enforcement of the foreign judgement is required by domestic legislation or pursuant to an international agreement.

In addition, the Supreme Court is has the authority to dissolve a political party or rule on a suspension of its activities, as well as in matters concerning a rejected candidate list for elections to the Chamber of Deputies or refusal to register a candidate for elections to the Senate. The Supreme Court also certifies the election of a Member of Parliament or a Senator.

The Constitutional Court consists of 15 Justices. The Constitutional Court is a judicial body charged with the protection of constitutional order, thus, it does not form a part of the system of ordinary courts and its specific jurisdiction (Art.87 of the Constitution). The Constitutional Court decides, among others, on the repeal of laws or their individual provisions in the event of their inconsistency with the Constitution or an international agreement (as required under Article 10 of the Constitution). It also decides upon constitutional complaints against valid decisions and any other intervention of public authorities in the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and on the measures necessary to implement a decision of an international tribunal. The law determines by whom and the conditions subject to which a constitutional complaint may be lodged. In making their decisions, judges of the Constitutional Court are bound only by constitutional law and international agreements (Art. 10 of the Constitution) as well as by the Law on the establishment of the Constitutional Court and proceedings before the Constitutional Court. Final judgements of the Constitutional Court are binding on all organs and persons.

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Czech Republic is:

  • OSCE Participating State since 1 January 1993
  • Member State of the United Nations since 19 January 1993
  • Member State of the Council of Europe since 30 June 1993
  • Member State of the European Union since 1 May 2004

Status of Ratification of the Main International Human Rights Treaties, Conventions and other instruments

25 July 2006
International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2007)
27 December 2005
International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (2002)
01 November 2004
Protocol No.13 to the ECHR concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances (2003)
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