Turnout for regional, first-round Senate elections higher than in 2016

Up to 40 percent of the nearly 8 million people eligible to vote in Czech elections for regional assemblies (excluding Prague) and in the first round of Senate elections did so, according to preliminary estimates. Despite the Covid-19 uptick, the turnout was higher than in the 2016 elections (35 percent).

Regular voting took place in two rounds, on Friday (2pm-10 pm) and on Saturday (8am-2pm). People with Covid-19 or in quarantine could vote earlier in the week at special drive-in points. Those in hospital, old-age homes or in similar circumstances could use mobile voting stations.

The unofficial results of most regional contests, and of Senate elections in which a candidate won a sizeable majority, should be clear already on Saturday evening. As of 4pm, the ANO party of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš looked set to place first in 10 of the 13 regions holding elections for regional assemblies.

The regional assembly results will become official on Tuesday (October 6), following their publication in the Collection of Laws. As for the Senate races, some contests will continue next weekend in a second, run-off vote.

The posts of 675 regional assembly members, who are elected to four-year terms, were contested by 9,711 candidates, representing 85 parties and so-called movements in total.

Vying for 27 open seats in the 81-member upper house of Parliament were 235 candidates. Senators are elected to six-year terms, with one-third of seats contested every two years.

According to early estimates, voter turnout was highest in the regions of Hradec Králové, Zlín and Vysočina, at above 40 percent, and lowest in Prague, where only senatorial elections were held, at less than 33 percent. Participation was lower than the national average in North Moravia and West and North-western Bohemia.

Author: Brian Kenety