Foreigners to Gain Voting Rights in the Czech Republic?

A new amendment to Czech laws might mean that foreigners in the country would be able to vote in local elections

Tomorrow, Czech government officials will meet to discuss a proposed amendment to election laws that might give foreigners staying in the country on a short-term basis the right to vote in local municipal elections, reports iDnes.cz. 

Currently, EU citizens residing in the Czech Republic that hold permanent residence have the ability to vote in local elections.

The new proposal would give EU citizens residing in the Czech Republic with temporary residence voting rights in municipal elections.

And it may go even further: according to Minister for Human Rights Jiří Dienstbier, all foreigners – not just those from EU member states – should be granted to the right to vote in municipal elections.

“I am of the view that citizens of European Union member states with permanent and temporary residence should be able to vote in municipal elections, as is indeed laid out in the proposal,” Dienstbier said.

“I would also like all those who have residence in the Czech Republic – those who live here for more than five years and have the clear interest in local developments at their place of residence – to be able to vote as well.”

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The change comes in the wake of a 2014 case involving a Slovak citizen living in the Czech Republic who was enrolled in the list of voters by court mandate despite not having permanent residence in the country.

Afterwards, the State Election Commission recommended that all EU citizens with temporary residence in the country be allowed to vote in local municipal elections.

The new amendment would also change the number of signatures on a petition required for an independent presidential candidate, lowering the number from 50,000 to 8,000, along with other provisions.


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