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Home > Legal Basis

Constitutional Order of the Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, the constitution is not formed by one document, a constitutional act, rather it comprises several enactments, constitutional acts. According to Art. 9 para. 1 of the Constitution of the Czech Republic of 16 December 1993, the Constitution (in the broad sense) may be supplemented or amended only by constitutional acts. A constitutional act in the formal sense is an act which has been designated and is later promulgated as “constitutional” and which is approved by both chambers of the Parliament, by a qualified majority of three-fifths of all Deputies and a qualified majority of three-fifths of all Senators present (Art. 39 para. 4 of the Constitution of the Czech Republic).

Apart from the Constitution of the Czech Republic proper, promulgated as Constitutional Act No. 1/1993 Sb., the constitution in the broader sense comprises the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, adopted in the period of the Federation as Constitutional Act No. 23/1991 Sb., then newly promulgated in the Czech Republic as No. 2/1993 Sb.

The further components of the Czech constitution are:

In the Czech Republic’s brief history, the Parliament has also, in reaction to a governmental crisis that arose, adopted Constitutional Act No. 69/1998 Sb., on the Shortening of the Electoral Term of the Assembly of Deputies, which was, in a way, an extraordinary constitutional act in the sense that it was intended to apply solely for that situation only. Another act of this type, the Constitutional Act no. 195/2009 Sb., on Shortening the Fifth Term of Office of the Chamber of Deputies, was annulled by the Constitutional Court – see the judgment Pl. ÚS 27/09 of 10 September 2009 and the  press release (35.1 kB, Adobe Acrobat document).

For the complex of constitutional acts, that is, for the designation of the constitution in the broader sense, Art. 3 and Art. 112 para. 1 of the Constitution of the Czech Republic introduce the comprehensive term, „constitutional order of the Czech Republic“, and define what its components are.

The Constitution of the Czech Republic has been amended on several occasions since it was first enacted in 1993. Mostly the amendments amounted to partial or rather technical modifications and adjustments. The truly substantial change of the constitutional circumstances of modern Czech lands was introduced by the amendment of the Constitution of February 8, 2012 in the form of the Constitutional Act No. 71/2012 Sb., whereby the direct national popular vote of the President was introduced as opposed to indirect election by the legislature applied since the creation of the independent Czechoslovak Republic in 1918. While modifying the way in which the Head of State is elected the facts to be satisfied in order to instigate proceedings before the Constitutional Court in suspected treason or gross violation of the Constitution or other segment of constitutional order (a so-called impeachment) were paradoxically made more difficult; newly the consent of the Chamber of Deputies is required in order to enable the Senate of the Parliament to lodge a constitutional charge; in addition to that, both chambers must support such act by a constitutional supermajority, that is by a three-fifths majority. This amendment of the Constitution comes into effect on October 1, 2012. However some provisions will come into effect on March 8, 2013 when Václav Klaus, the President elected for the second time in 2008 completes his second term in the office.

NALUS

 
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