Voting has ended in Czechia’s municipal and Senate elections

Czechs have cast their votes in the 2022 municipal and Senate elections. Voting booths around the country closed precisely at 2pm and preliminary results are expected in the late afternoon or early evening.

Czechs have cast their ballot in municipal elections and elections to a third of the Senate.

The turnout in the two-day vote is estimated at around 40 percent.

A total of 178 candidates are contesting 27 seats in the Senate and close to 200, 000 people are running for 60,000 seats in local councils. A second round of voting in the Senate elections will take place next weekend for contestants who fail to win 50 percent of the vote.

The outcome of these elections will decide who will be in charge of individual municipalities in the next four years, opening the way for a complete change-of-guard or potential new coalitions, and the balance of power in the Senate where the six-year terms of 27 senators have expired. A number of well-known senators are running for reelection, among them Senate Speaker Miloš Vystrčil and three of the four deputy speakers.

Among the first to vote in their constituencies were party leaders and President Miloš Zeman. In a brief statement for Czech Television the head of state urged Czechs to exercise their voting right and help shape the future of their respective municipality.  Referendums on local issues took place in 14 municipalities.

The municipal and Senate elections were held at a time of growing concern among Czechs regarding energy prices, inflation and global security. Although the ruling coalition has rejected the notion that they will be a litmus test of the government’s popularity, opposition leader Andrej Babiš urged voters to go to the polls and evaluate the government’s performance in the ongoing crisis.

Election commissioners are now counting votes around the country with preliminary results expected in the late afternoon or early evening and a final result due on Sunday morning.