Czech coalition tops 1st round of Senate election
PRAGUE (AP) — The ruling Czech ruling coalition led by left-wing Social Democrats appeared ahead on Saturday in the first round of elections for parliament’s upper house, the Senate, while independent candidates dominated municipal elections.
With the votes from almost 95 percent of ballot stations counted, according to figures released by the Statistics Office, no candidate in the race for 27 seats in the 81-seat Senate appeared to have reached the 50-percent threshold to win outright. That means the top two finishers in each district face next weekend’s runoff.
The Social Democrats were first or second in 19 districts contested. The other two coalition members, the centrist ANO movement and Christian Democrats, defended no seat and would advance to the runoffs in nine and eight districts, respectively, giving the coalition a good chance to retain a majority in the chamber.
The conservative Civic Democratic Party was the best opposition force with six candidates likely advancing to the runoffs.
Parliament’s lower house dominates the legislative process, but the Senate plays an important role in passing constitutional amendments and approving Constitutional Court judges.
In separate local elections, various independent candidates and groupings were on their way to winning the most seats nationwide, some 65 percent.