Abstract Šaradín 2010

Direct elections of mayors in the Czech Republic? Data from research and political support

Pavel Šaradín

Abstract: This article deals with the debate over the introduction of direct elections for mayors in the Czech Republic. This reform measure has for the most part been mentioned by the political parties themselves and they consider it to be a tool to revive participation. Also the municipal politicians support this. In 1997, a questionnaire of mayors was distributed in the framework of research for Local Democracy and Innovation II: Mapping Institutional Performance (1996–1999), in the years 2008 and 2009, the project Municipal Assemblies in European Local Governance (MAELG) was carried out, which focused on members of the representative bodies of European cities, in which there were more than 10 thousand inhabitants. In the Czech Republic, we performed an additional research study of municipalities in areas of between 3 to 10 thousand inhabitants. From both research works there emerges unequivocal support for the introduction of direct elections of mayors. Questions remain as to what the electoral law would be, how much authority the mayors would have, and therefore what would the local political system look like.

Keywords: Local Government, Czech Republic, Direct Elections, Mayors