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Czech elections to the lower house underway

Czech Republic, 26.10.2013 3:07, (ROMEA)

Elections to the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic began Friday 25 October. Polls opened at 14:00 and closed at 22:00.  Voting will also take place on Saturday 26 October from 8:00 to 14:00.

Any citizen of the Czech Republic can vote as long he or she has 18 years old by the second day of voting. Voters are recorded in the permanent registry and in special local electoral lists and may only cast votes in person.

Pre-election statistics

Compared to the previous elections to the Chamber of Deputies in 2010, the number of parties running has been reduced by three. The number of parties fielding candidates is also lower than the 2002 and 2006 elections to the lower house.

In 1998 there were only 18 movements and parties running. Of the 23 movements and parties running this year, 12 were involved in the 2010 elections.

The fewest candidates are running in the Karlovy Vary Region, with a maximum of 14 candidates per party list. Voters in the Moravian-Silesian Region and in Prague will choose from up to 36 candidates per party list.

This year a total of 5 923 candidates are running, 901 more than last time and 938 more than in 2006. A total of 26.9 % of this year's candidates are women, 0.3 % fewer than the number of women running in 2010 and 2006 for the lower house.

Not all political parties are running in every region. The Romani Democratic Party is running only the Central Bohemian and Liberec Regions, the Independent Citizens' Resource (Aktiv nezávislých občanů) is running only in Prague, the Club of Engaged Independents (  Klub angažovaných nestraníků) is running only in Pardubice, the Czech Crown (Koruna Česká) is running only in Hradec Králové, Liberec and Vysočina Regions, CITIZENS 2011 (OBČANÉ 2011) are running only in Prague, and Vote the Right Bloc www.cibulka.net (official name "Volte Pravý Blok www.cibulka.net") is running only in Prague.

Proving your identity

When entering the polling place, the voter shows the district electoral commission his identity and citizenship in the Czech Republic by presenting a valid identity card or passport (a diplomatic or service passport) of the Czech Republic. Voters who do not do so will not be permitted to cast a ballot.

Casting ballots

Only the unaccompanied voter is permitted to enter the area designated for casting ballots. When registering at the polling place, the voter will receive only one ballot to place in the official envelope for the political coalition, movement or party the voter has chosen to cast his or her ballot for.  

The vote is invalid if more than one ballot is placed in the official envelope. The voter can circle the numbers of up to four particular candidates whom he or she would like to see get into the lower house, including the leading candidate at number 1.

Party lists with the names of candidates added, altered or crossed out will also be counted. Votes will not be counted if they are not cast through the printed ballot, if they are torn, or if they have not been placed in an official envelope. 

Creasing or folding a ballot does not affect its validity as long as the necessary data are obvious from it. The ballots are distributed to the voters by local authorities at least one day prior to the elections. 

Should a ballot be damaged or lost, or should a voter determine there are not ballots available, he or she may request a new ballot at the polling place. For serious reasons, in particular those of ill-health, a voter may request the local authority in advance (or request the district electoral commission during the voting days) for permission to cast a ballot outside the polling place, but only on the territory of that electoral district. In such a case, the district electoral commission will send two members to the voter with a portable ballot box, the official envelope, and the ballots.

A voter who will not be in the place of his or her permanent residence during the time of the elections may apply for a voter identity card in any permanent electoral district on the territory of the Czech Republic or at a special electoral district abroad at a consulate or embassy of the Czech Republic. A voter who votes in a special electoral district will be given the ballots at the polling place there.

When an eligible voter is residing in a hospital, maternity ward, sanatorium, social care institution, or similar establishment or facility, he or she may exercise the right to vote. There are several options for how to proceed depending on the nature of the voter's hospitalization, whether it is long-term or short-term.

Should it be presumed that the voter will be hospitalized for the long term in such an establishment or facility, its management should inform the voter of the option of registering on the special voters' list so that he or she can exercise the right to vote. The voter will cast a ballot in a portable ballot box and will vote for candidates in the electoral region where the facility is located after being given the ballot and official envelope by the district electoral commission. 

In the case of short-term hospitalization, or in cases where the voter does not know where he or she will be exactly during the elections (e.g., in the case of anticipated hospitalization), it is most appropriate to apply for a voter identity card which the voter can use to cast a ballot in any polling place on the the territory of the Czech Republic. If hospitalized, the voter can cast his or her ballot in the portable ballot box, but will be restricted to voting for candidates in the particular district where the facility is located. The district electoral commission cannot facilitate voting for voters who are in a hospital or similar health care facility and who are not registered on the special voters' list, or who do not have a voter identity card, or whose permanent residence is not in the district where facility is located.

Voting abroad

If an individual will be abroad during the elections, he or she has two options depending on whether the stay abroad is long-term or short-term. Should the voter be abroad long-term, it is possible to make a written request to be registered on the special voter list at the consulate or embassy of the Czech Republic. 

Should the voter be abroad on a short-term basis, it is best to vote at a consulate or embassy using a voter identity card issued by the local authority in the place of the voter's permanent residence where he or she is registered in the permanent list of voters. All voters who vote abroad at consulates or embassies will vote for candidates of a region to be determined through a lottery run by the State Electoral Commission of the Central Bohemian electoral district.


fk, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Volby, Election 2013



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