Is Czech electoral law now fairer?
Just a few months before parliamentary elections are held in October, the Czech Constitutional Court has changed important sections of the electoral law. The previous system put small parties - which in some cases needed twice as many votes as large parties to secure a mandate - at a disadvantage. The court upheld the five-percent hurdle for parliamentary representation, but in future electoral alliances of several parties will be able to join forces to clear it.
At last a level playing field
Aktuálně.cz is pleased with the verdict:
“The distorted electoral law was drawn up by the then leaders of the conservative Civic Party and the Social Democrats, Václav Klaus and Miloš Zeman, and adopted in 2000. It inflicted great damage on the small political parties and their voters. ... That the electoral law has now been declared unconstitutional comes as a great relief. For the two power politicians Zeman and Klaus the ruling will put a symbolic end to their era, which has severely damaged the state since 1998. Things are changing for the better. It is wonderful that we are returning to electoral equality. It is wonderful that the Constitutional Court is doing its job.”
Even more fragmentation
Právo, on the other hand, fears the changes to the electoral law will cause problems:
“In theory, ten political groups could now form a coalition, jointly clear the 5-percent hurdle and then enter parliament with one MP each. ... However, we already have nine parties and one other grouping [without parliamentary group status] in our parliament. The new system promises to further increase that number. But will that make the country any more democratic?”