Czechs cast ballots in vote seen as government test

Last Updated: Saturday, October 23, 2010 - 20:15

Prague: Czechs voted on Saturday in a mid-term
Senate ballot, seen as a test for the new centre-right cabinet
whose reforms and cuts are likely to slow down if the leftist
opposition wins a majority.

Final results in the second-round run-off poll are
expected by 5:00 pm (0830 IST), after the opposition Social
Democrats came out on top in last weekend`s first round.

Voting started yesterday in the 27 districts where
seats in the 81-member Senate are up for grabs, pitting the
strongest two candidates from the first round.

The Social Democrats, fielding 22 candidates, oppose
cuts and reforms by the fiscally conservative centre-right
government as too harsh for low-income groups in the former
communist state.

The Social Democrats` acting chairman Bohuslav Sobotka
recently said the party wanted "to gain a majority in the
Senate to begin to correct the cabinet`s reforms."

The Senate, now dominated by the right-wing, approves
bills passed by the lower house before they can be signed into
law by the president. If it turns them down, they return to
the lower house which then sends them directly to the
president.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, October 23, 2010 - 20:15

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