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Billionaire pushes for revolution in electoral system

23. 8. 2012 18:34

Janecek prepares campaign for introduction of first-past-the-post electoral system in Czech Republic

Czech billionaire Karel Janecek Czech billionaire Karel Janecek | Foto: Karel Janeček

Prague - Czech billionaire Karel Janecek, founder of the Anticorruption Endowment, is trying to persuade some Czech celebrities to participate in his campaign for an overhaul of the current electoral system. 

Czech investigative daily Insider reported that Janecek has approached for example David Koller, a Czech musician who recently performed a protest song that criticized what it described as the Czech Republic's rampant corruption.

Koller confirmed to Insider that he was approached by Janecek, adding that he has not decided yet.

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Janecek's foundation is supported by other Czech celebrities such as talkshow host Jan Kraus or owner of the Bernard brewery Stanislav Bernard.
 
Insider has learned that Janecek proposes the introduction of a first-past-the-post electoral system for the Czech Republic's lower chamber. The new system would use the current 81 Senate electoral districts, but in contrast to two-round Senate elections there would be only one round. Voters would elect two deputies in each of the 81 districts.

Each voter would be allowed to cast two "positive" votes for their favorite candidates and one "negative" vote for the candidate they like the least.

In addition to public personalities, Janecek has also tried to gain support of some NGOs such as Transparency International, Environmental Legal Service, or the Oziveni (Revival) civic association.

 So far, they have not adopted a clear stance on the proposal.

"It is not one of our main issues, we are more interested in communal politics," said Oziveni chairman Stepan Rattay.

"So far, we are forming our opinion. We also want an analysis by political scientists, because it is a deep cut into the rules of the game,"said Martin Fadrny from the Environmental Legal Service.

In the second phase of the campaign, Janecek's team wants citizens to directly pressure politicians into implementing the electoral system change.

However, the chairmen of the parliamentary clubs of all four major parties - ODS, TOP 09, CSSD, Communists - are against the change proposed by Janecek.

Zbynek Stanjura (ODS) said that his party is in favor of introducing a first-past-the-post system, but with only one vacancy to be filled in each electoral district.

Jeronym Tejc (CSSD) considers Janacek's proposal too radical.

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autor: Jan Nemec

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