Opposition leads in 1st round of Czech Senate election

September 24, 2022 GMT

PRAGUE (AP) — The major opposition party in the Czech Republic appeared to be leading Saturday in the first round of elections for one-third of the seats in Parliament’s upper house, the Senate.

With ballots from more than 95% of ballot stations counted, the centrist ANO movement led by former Prime Minister Andrej Babis had the most candidates, 17, advancing to next week’s runoffs.

The Czech Statistics Office said two candidates had reached the 50% threshhold to win seats outright, leaving 25 seats to be decided in runoffs between the top two finishers in each race.

The outrights winners included one candidate from ANO and one from the Christian Democrats, a member of the governing five-party coalition.

The coalition currently has a clear majority in the Senate, which has 81 members in all.

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 appeared to be winning most seats nationwide, a traditional result. ANO appeared to be winning in most regional capitals, but not in Prague.