Czechia Direct Democracy: From the Shadows to the Limelight
Jan Kovář, Petr Kratochvíl and Zdeněk Sychra contributed the chapter "Czechia Direct Democracy: From the Shadows to the Limelight" into the edited publication "Direct Democracy in the EU: The Myth of a Citizens’ Union" published by CEPS, Brussels and Rowman & Littlefield International. The book is part of the Erasmus+'s 'Towards a Citizens’ Union' project and is the product of collaboration with 20 renowned think tanks from the European Policy Institutes Network (EPIN).
Czechia has limited experience of direct democracy. While petitions are in use and referendums can be organised at the local and regional level, Czech citizens cannot vote in nationwide referendums and have no other direct democracy tools at their disposal. Calls for the wider use of direct democracy have multiplied, however, especially in the past five years. Direct democracy is promoted by challenger parties to gain electoral advantage and achieve political goals thought to be unachievable via representative democracy (namely ‘Czech-out’ – a Czech exit from the EU) rather than as a means to improve the quality of democracy and increase citizens’ involvement.