Czech Lower House of Parliament Passes Direct Presidential Vote

The Czech lower house of parliament approved legislation allowing direct elections of the president, who selects policy makers and appoints prime ministers.

The bill must now be approved in the upper house of parliament, the Senate, to become valid. The opposition Social Democrats, who control the upper house, didn’t muster enough votes today to push though a change that would require Senate approval of central bank board members. Currently, the president is elected in a vote by both houses of parliament.

The president doesn’t hold executive powers, although he selects the political leader who attempts to form a government after general elections. The president may also influence monetary policy as the position holds the sole right to name members of the central bank’s rate-setting board.

The second term of President Vaclav Klaus, who delayed signing the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty in 2009 and has opposed a rush into the euro area, will end in 2013 and the current law forbids him to seek the post again.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Laca in Prague at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at

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