Czech lawmakers agree to amend constitution as court cancels elections

[JURIST] Czech lawmakers have agreed to amend the country's constitution [text] to allow parliamentary elections to take place in November, as the Constitutional Court [official website, in Czech] ruled [judgment, PDF, in Czech; press release, in Czech] Thursday that the scheduled October elections violate the constitution. Last week, the court delayed the elections [JURIST report], planned for October 9 and 10, after independent lawmaker Milos Melcak filed a complaint [text, PDF, in Czech] alleging that the scheduled elections violated his rights by not allowing him to serve his full parliamentary term. The court ruled Thursday that holding the elections in October would amount to a suspension of the constitution [Aktualne report]. Czech President Vaclav Klaus [official website, in Czech] sharply criticized [press release, in Czech] the court's decision, saying that it:

consciously and deliberately deepens the political crisis in our country.

If we want today and in the future to avoid similar situations, which threaten chaos and threaten the entire society, the moment is approaching when it will be necessary to adopt a new definition of the constitutional powers of the Constitutional Court.
Czech lawmakers from the Social Democrat and Civic Democrat parties agreed Wednesday to sidestep the anticipated court ruling by amending the constitution [Prague Post report] to allow a November election. The proposal must now be approved by a three-fifths majority of parliament.

Former prime minister Mirek Topolanek [official website; JURIST news archive] formally resigned [JURIST report] in March, dissolving parliament, which led to the scheduling of the now-delayed October elections. The Czech Republic has been experiencing economic difficulty over the past year, and the delayed election will further delay budget negotiations. Since the breakup of Czechoslovakia in 1993, the Czech Republic has been led by a series of governments lacking a strong majority [Bloomberg report].


 

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