Thursday, 14 December 2017

Senators want court to abolish general election system

ČTK |
7 December 2017

Prague, Dec 6 (CTK) - A group of 21 senators has submitted to the Constitutional Court its proposal to abolish the current Chamber of Deputies' election system as disadvantageous to small parties since they need more votes per mandate, the Mayors and Independents (STAN) senator group told reporters on Wednesday.

The proposal drafted by STAN was supported by senators for the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) and TOP 09 and several independent senators.

"Votes do not have the same importance, which is due to the major differences in the region's size and the concurrent conversion of the votes by the d'Hondt method," Senate deputy chairman Jiri Sestak (STAN) said.

According to Sestak, the election law thus denies the constitutional principle of a proportional representation of parties in the Chamber of Deputies.

The senators pointed out that while the election-winning ANO movement needed 19,232 votes to obtain one mandate, STAN, the smallest party in parliament, needed 43,693 votes. If the votes were distributed only based on the ratio of the votes obtained by the individual parties, ANO would have 63 mandates instead of the current 78, while the ODS, that fared second in the October general election, would have 24 mandates instead of 25.

Other parties represented in the lower house would have gained more mandates, on the other hand. STAN would have gained almost twice as many seats, 11 instead of the current six.

The ANO senators said they were sceptical about the initiative of the small parties' senators.

"There will always be someone for whom the election system will be more favourable, and another one for whom it will be less favourable. No election system is ideal, but this system works here and we are accepting it," senator Jaroslav Vetrovsky (ANO) told journalists.

The group of senators also objected to the election law's provision, which stipulates that a coalition of two parties must obtain at least 10 percent of the vote to enter the Chamber of Deputies. They argue that it prevents the formation of pre-election coalitions and increases the number of parties in the Chamber, while raising the number of votes needed to obtain a mandate for smaller parties.

The STAN and KDU-CSL originally planned a coalition before the general election, but eventually gave it up fearing whether they would pass the 10-percent threshold.

zot/dr/hol

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