The Czech Republic is a pluralist multi-party parliamentary representative democracy, with the Prime Minister as head of government. The Parliament (Parlament České republiky) is bicameral, with the Chamber of Deputies (Czech: Poslanecká sněmovna) (200 members) and the Senate (Czech: Senát) (81 members).
The President of the Czech Republic is selected by a joint session of the parliament for a five-year term, with no more than two consecutive terms. The president is a formal head of state with limited specific powers, most importantly to return bills to the parliament, nominate constitutional court judges for the Senate's approval and dissolve the parliament under certain special and unusual circumstances. He also appoints the prime minister, as well the other members of the cabinet on a proposal by the prime minister. From 2013 on, the president will be elected by the public, not the parliament.
The Prime Minister is the head of government and wields considerable powers, including the right to set the agenda for most foreign and domestic policy, mobilize the parliamentary majority and choose government ministers.
The members of the Chamber of Deputies are elected for a four-year term by proportional representation, with a 5% election threshold. There are 14 voting districts, identical to the country's administrative regions. The Chamber of Deputies, the successor to the Czech National Council, has the powers and responsibilities of the now defunct federal parliament of the former Czechoslovakia.
The members of the Senate are elected in single-seat constituencies by two-round runoff voting for a six-year term, with one-third elected every even year in the autumn. The first election was in 1996, for differing terms. This arrangement is modeled on the U.S. Senate, but each constituency is roughly the same size and the voting system used is a two-round runoff. The Senate is unpopular among the public and suffers from low election turnout, overall roughly 30% in the first round and 20% in the second.
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