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Volební obvody ve volbách do Senátu
Czech Senate Electoral Districts

Author(s): Marek Antoš
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: Mezinárodní politologický ústav Masarykovy univerzity v Brně
Keywords: Senate elections; electoral districts; equal suffrage; malapportionment; gerrymandering

Summary/Abstract: The members of the Czech Senate, the upper chamber of the Czech Parliament, are elected every six years through a two-round majority system in 81 single-seat electoral districts, with one-third of the chamber up for election every two years. District boundaries are set by a law which stipulates they must be modified by amendment if the number of inhabitants in any district diverges more than 15 % from the average. Recently, these changes have been carried out every two years shortly before the regular election is announced, and the number of districts affected by changes is gradually increasing. The extent of these changes, however, is usually very small, which makes later changes necessary. During last ten years, many districts have been changed more multiple times. It follows that the Samuels-Snyder index of malapportionment has increased from 0.0289 in 1996 to 0.0346 in 2010. Moreover, during the last electoral cycle, the 15% limit was not in fact observed in four of the 81 districts. Moreover, the criterion chosen for district size is not an optimal one, as it fails to take into account the uneven distribution of minors and foreigners, who do not have voting rights. In fact, the percentage of minors and foreigners in various districts varies in the interval <-2.3 %; 2.8 %> and <-2.8 %; 6.8 %>, respectively. This affects the weight of votes in various districts accordingly. Besides the problems with malapportionment, the law does not provide for any prevention of gerrymandering. Although there is no strong evidence of gerrymandering being used so far, at least one attempt in this respect was made in 2008. The article analyzes the law and its outcome and suggests some modifications to the law.

  • Issue Year: XX/2013
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 139-156
  • Page Count: 18
  • Language: Czech