Freedom in the World
Freedom Rating (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Civil Liberties (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Political Rights (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek’s center-right government was ousted by a vote of no confidence in March 2009, and President Vaclav Klaus appointed Jan Fischer as prime minister of a caretaker government in April. Because a majority of deputies opposed early parliamentary elections, Fischer’s government was set to remain in place until regular elections in June 2010. Also during 2009, violence against Roma continued amid worsening economic conditions.
Klaus, a skeptic of EU integration, signed the long-delayed Lisbon Treaty in November 2009 after the Constitutional Court deemed it compatible with the Czech constitution and he received assurances that the country could opt out of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Czech ratification cleared the way for implementation of the treaty, which was intended in part to make EU decision-making more efficient.
The Czech Republic is an electoral democracy. Since the Velvet Revolution in 1989, the country has enjoyed free and fair elections. The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Parliament, has 200 members elected for four-year terms by proportional representation. The Senate has 81 members elected for six-year terms, with one-third up for election every two years. The president, elected by Parliament for five-year terms, appoints judges, the prime minister, and other cabinet members, but has few other formal powers. The prime minister, whose recommendations determine the cabinet appointments, relies on support from a majority in the Chamber of Deputies to govern.