The website for critical discussion about migration in Central and Eastern Europe.

Voting Rights for EU Citizens Extended in the Czech Republic

Recently, it was declared that EU citizens residing in the Czech Republic have the right to vote in municipal elections. Up until now only those with permanent residency could vote while those with temporary residency could not, which accounts to about 110,000 potential voters excluded from local elections. The Public Defender of Rights advocated for their voting rights in the upcoming municipal elections, while the Minister of Interior disagreed at first with the change for this upcoming election.

Following a court decision, EU citizens residing on temporary residence in the Czech Republic will now indeed have the right to vote in the upcoming municipal elections. This change has brought about positive feedback from some EU residents. UK citizen Laura Walker shares her thoughts on the issue:

“I think this is a positive step for the Czech Republic. It's the right of an EU citizen to vote in municipal elections in the EU country they live in, so I'm glad the courts are respecting this right. It makes much more sense to vote in the area where you live, as this is the community you are part of, the place you work, the place you contribute to society, as opposed to voting in a country where you don't live, but are a citizen of. It's natural to want to have a say in local matters as they affect local people.”

In order to vote, EU citizens can now register until 8 September with the municipality of their residence. This right gives residents a voice in public matters that influence their everyday lives. Walker says, “I think one can be completely immersed in a culture and society without voting (many people don't ever vote), but it doesn't mean that the right to vote shouldn't exist, just that it is one way of many to make a change.” While there appears to be a link between voting rights and nationality, these new advancements illustrate a shift to a reflection of voting rights more so on where you live rather than where you come from. Overall, voting rights help to establish a sense of community and belonging in a society.

McKenzie Krochmalny
Student at New York University. She is currently studying anthropology and photography in Prague.
6. 10. 14
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