Elections to the Regional Assembly

Elections to the Regional Assembly

The region is administrated by the Regional Assembly. In connection with legislating the regional system, the system of holding elections to the regional assembly was amended. 

The president of the Czech Republic declares elections to the regional assemblies at least ninety days before they are to take place. Every citizen of the Czech Republic over 18 years of age whose permanent residence is in a town in the region has the right to vote. Foreign citizens permanently residing in the region's territory also have the right to vote.

Each voter can also be a member of the assembly. The assembly is elected for a period of four years based on the principle of proportionate representation. Election wards correspond to the territory of each region. Only political parties, movements and coalitions may be candidates in the elections. Mandates are distributed proportionately to those subjects who received at least five per cent of all valid votes.

Elections to the regional assembly took place for the first time in 2000, and 33.64 per cent of eligible voters took part in the elections.

What powers do the regions hold?

Within the framework of their own creation of norms, the regions issue:

– commonly binding regional ordinances regarding issues within the region's independent competence

– regional decrees regarding issues within the region's delegated competence

Both types of regulations must be in accordance with the law; in addition, decrees must also be in accordance with other legal regulations issued to carry out the law.

The state may interfere in the performance of the region's independent competence only if the protection of the law requires it and only in a manner permitted by law.

What are the regions' basic powers in the area of independent competence?

 

Within the framework of their independent competence, the regions:

– submit proposals for legal regulations

– submit proposals to the Constitutional Court

– issue commonly binding ordinances

– co-ordinate, approve and secure territorial development programmes

– approve land zoning documentation for the region's territory

– create a concept for developing tourism in the region

– set the extent of basic transportation service in the region

– decide on regional property transactions such as acquiring and transferring real estate, providing subsidies to civic organisations and municipalities, forfeiting rights, forgiving debts, foreclosing on moveable assets etc.

Income and Expenditures

In the Czech Republic , regions cannot decide on issuing taxes. This power is entrusted to the Czech Parliament.

The system for financing local administrations is continuously developing. During the first two years of the regions' existence only a provisional resolution was chosen; on the basis of this resolution the regions were financed mainly through government subsidies granted for specific purposes. The regions' current duties as imposed by law include the areas of regional development, highway maintenance, transportation, schooling, social care, culture and health care facilities. But finances provided to the regions to cover these tasks independently have proven to be insufficient.

In 2002 the regions became the recipients of a portion of shared taxes, and in 2004 this amount was 3.1 per cent. Public finance reform is currently underway in the Czech Republic , and a part of this reform is expected to be a radical increase in the portion regions receive in shared taxes. The goal of the regions is to implement a system of financing that will allow the regions to undergo complex development in accordance with the needs of its residents.

The European Union and International Relations

European Union legislation affects the regions in many ways. At present the regions are actively connected to project financing programmes from EU structural funds. The Czech Republic 's share of tapped EU finances is influenced to a great extent by the regions that have the necessary administrative capacity. Some regions have opened a permanent office in Brussels in order to be closer to information regarding current regional policy decisions taken by European institutions.

The Czech Republic has occupied twelve seats in the Committee of Regions. Seven of these seats were named by the association, and the remainder were named by the Union of Cities and Towns. The City of Prague functions as a permanent delegation secretary for all Czech representatives.

The association names representatives to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, a body of the Council of Europe.


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