President Zeman Signs New Electoral System Into Law

President Miloš Zeman has signed an amendment to Czech election law, which introduces a new method of converting votes into parliamentary seats, and a lower threshold for electoral coalitions to qualify for representation in the Chamber of Deputies. Photo Credit:

Czech Rep., May 5 (BD) – An amendment to the Czech Republic’s electoral rules has been signed into law by President Miloš Zeman. The amendment was required following a ruling by the Constitutional Court at the beginning of February, which abolished the current method of converting votes into parliamentary seats as unfair to smaller parties. The new method also favours larger parties, but to a lesser extent than the previous method, known as the d’Hondt method.

The court also reduced the re quired threshold for electoral alliances. Two-party alliances will now need only 7% of the vote, instead of 10%, and alliances of three or more parties will need 11%. The threshold for single parties will remain at 5%.

Voters will elect deputies in 14 regions as before. The distribution of seats will take place in two rounds. First, the Czech Statistical Office will distribute seats in each region among the parties which passed the national threshold, using the so-called Imperiali quota. The total number of votes for successful parties in the region will be divided by the number of seats in the region plus two, to determine the quota. Each party will then be allocated seats according to their result in the region.

The remaining seats will then be allocated at the national level in a second round, using the Hagenbach-Bischoff quota. Parties will win seats in those regions where they have the most votes. The allocation of a seat to a specific candidate then depends on the party’s list in that region, and on preferential voting.

According to CTK’s election calculator, if this new model had been used during the last parliamentary elections in 2017, ANO would have 69 seats, instead of 78; TOP 09 and STAN would have 9 deputies each, instead of 7 and 6. There would be 24 seats each for ODS (down 1) and the Pirates (up 2). SPD, KSČM, and KDU-ČSL would each have more deputies (23, 16, and 11, respectively). 

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