One Yellow Envelope, And the Other One Grey

The Senate Elections and the Regional Elections in Czechia

This Friday and Saturday, October 2nd and 3rd, the elections will be held in the Czech Republic. There will be two different kinds taking place at the same time, the Senate Elections and the Elections for the Regional Councils. The voters must be at least 18 years old Czech citizens, and personally present at the polls. They will receive two empty envelopes: a yellow one for the Senate and a grey one for the Regional.

The Senate Elections

The Czech Parliament consists of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. In the first Czech Senate Elections in 1996, all the 81 senators were elected at the same time. One-third was elected for six years, the second-third for four years and the last third for two years. Since then, one-third of the senators is replaced every two years and the senators always serve in a six years term. So there is 81 constituencies and the elections are held in 27 of them every two years.

In each of these 27 constituencies, people will choose from approximately 10 candidates. A candidate needs to have more than a half of the votes to win. If it so happens that none of the candidates get over half of the votes, a second round of the elections will be held the following week. In that second round, only two candidates with the highest number of votes will run for the office.

What senators do in the Czech Republic is traditionally vote yay or nay on the laws that are submitted by the Chamber of Deputies. They also agree on the majority with the judicial appointments for the Constitutional Court. And they can conduct impeachment proceedings on the President for capital offences like High Treason.

The Elections to the Regional Councils

The Regional Council is the main body of self-government, and it is elected as a whole every four years. Each of the Regional Councils consists of 45 to 65 councilmen and women according to the regional size and populations. The Councils are responsible for developing schools and hospitals, for road repairs management or for making decisions related to the social services in their regions like the elderly care.

No individual can be elected but only the political parties or movements or the coalitions from both of these. They can emerge for the Regional Elections, and have to be declared accordingly to that region. Qualified voters can only vote where they have permanent residency, and they can select up to four specific candidates in the political party's ballot that they are given.

There are 14 regions, but the elections will only be held in 13 of them. The reason is that Prague is both a region and a city at the same time. So the Regional Council of Prague is elected in the Communal Elections, which are going to be held in the year 2022.

Special conditions

In case some voters have a serious (mostly due to health) reason not to come to the polling place, the Election Commission can come to their residence, so they can vote from home.

This year, the elections are also customised for the people who are in quarantine due to COVID-19. If they have a car, they can vote in a drive-in poll and it is not considered as a breach of the quarantine rules. If someone is in quarantine and he or she has no car, they can vote from home, if they inform the election commission beforehand.