Czech 5 percent barrier for EP elections may be lifted


24.06.2014 18:01

Brno - The Czech Supreme Administrative Court (NSS) will propose to the Constitutional Court (US) that it cancel the 5 percent threshold in the elections to European Parliament valid in the Czech Republic, judge rapporteur Tomas Langasek told journalists today.


Volby, urna - ilustrační foto. ČTK Šálek Václav

The court panel has complied with the complaint lodged by the Greens. The Czech Pirate Party argued similarly in its complaint.

The NSS will suspend both proceedings, awaiting the verdict by the US.

In the May EP elections, both parties stayed closely below the 5 percent threshold with 4.78 percent (Pirates) and 3.77 percent (Greens) of the vote.

The NSS did not comply with any other complaint about the EP elections.

Langasek said the court panel had found that the disputed clauses of the European elections law "limit the free competition of political forces in democratic society, the equality of the right to vote of all voters and the citizens' right to elected posts in even conditions."

In addition, the European Parliament plays a less important role in the functioning of the EU than national parliaments in the functioning of EU member countries, Langasek said.

This is why the limiting clause does not seem to be as necessary as in the elections to the Chamber of Deputies that was approved by the US earlier, he added.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said he did not support the lifting of the barrier.

"The 5 percent barrier helps create and integrate the main streams of views," Sobotka said.

"It prevents fragmentation and inability to arrive at consensus," Sobotka said.

Deputy Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) said he could not see any problem in the lifting of the barrier.

If the 5 percent clause did not exist, the "natural threshold" would constitute a barrier for the entry to the EU. It depends on the election system, the number of the running parties and voter turnout.

In the latest elections, it was about 3.5 percent, which means that the Pirates and the Greens would have gained a mandate at the expense of the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) and the Civic Democratic Party (ODS).

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