Municipal and Senate elections taking place in Czechia

Friday sees the start of the 2022 municipal and Senate elections in Czechia. Voting booths are open on Friday from 2pm to 10pm and on Saturday from 8am to 2pm. In those districts where a Senate candidate does not receive more than 50 percent of the vote, a subsequent second round of elections will take place a week later.

Close to 200,000 candidates are running for a total of 62,000 municipal seats in close to 15,000 districts in the Czech capital and the country’s regions.

In Prague, the municipal elections will decide which party or potential coalition will be in charge of not just the individual districts of the capital, but also of Prague City Hall for the next four years. Analysts have also pointed to there being a lot of diversity in terms of the potential new coalitions that may be formed to govern the respective districts.

Photo illustrative: Michaela Danelová,  Czech Radio

The makeup of a third of the seats in the Senate is also being decided on, with 178 candidates running in the race for 27 seats in the upper-house of Czech Parliament. If a candidate does not get over 50 percent of the vote, a subsequent second round takes place on September 30 and October 1, in which voters decide between the two candidates who received the largest number of votes in the first round. Elected senators then receive a six-year-long mandate.

Competing in this year’s Senate elections is much of the current leadership of the upper-house. Aside from Senate Speaker Miloš Vystrčil, three of the four deputy speakers are also running for re-election. However, opposition parties currently have such a low representation in the Senate that even if their candidates were to win in all of the districts this year they would still not possess a majority.

In some districts local referendums are also taking place in conjunction with the elections. These include votes on questions such as whether to build a new industrial zone in the Pardubice Region, or whether to expand gravel mining in the Region of Olomouc.

Miloš Vystrčil | Photo: René Volfík,  Czech Radio

By now, registered voters should have received their election papers in their letterbox. However, even if these were not delivered or have since been lost, voters can request the necessary ballots at their voting place.

In order to be able to vote it is necessary to be able to identify oneself with either an ID card or passport at the voting place. Foreigners, who are included in the addendum to the regular electoral register, may also vote in the municipal elections provided that they identify themselves either with their permanent residency permit, or temporary residence certificate when they arrive at the polling station.

Voters are also able to select preferred parties and their candidates by placing a cross next their name on the district voting ballot. However, if the number of crosses is higher than that of the places available in the relevant district, the ballot is not valid.

It is not possible to vote in municipal or Senate elections for Czechs living abroad unless they make sure to be in Czechia to vote in person.