For EU citizens, municipal elections along with those for the European Parliament are the only ones in which they can vote in the country. In the past, however, Czech law did not grant them this right.
The Public Defender of Rights has been pointing out the limitations of EU citizens' right to vote, which is directly guaranteed by EU law, since 2014. The administrative courts upheld the Ombudsman's arguments. Since 2014, the Ministry of the Interior has allowed EU citizens to vote at least through its methodological instruction. A systemic change was granted by the amendment to the electoral law in March 2019, under which EU citizens are going to municipal elections for the first time this year.
Voters from other EU countries must apply to the municipal authority in their place of registered residence to be added to the permanent electoral roll. In addition to their citizenship, they must prove that they hold a certificate of temporary residence or a permanent residence permit in the Czech Republic and that they are registered to reside in the municipality.
The voter must apply for this entry in the supplement to the permanent voters' list no later than two days before election day (i.e. no later than Wednesday September 21st) by 16.00.
EU legislation also guarantees EU citizens with temporary or permanent residence the passive suffrage (i.e. the right to stand as a candidate) in municipal elections. However, Czech law continues to restrict this right by allowing EU citizens to stand only as non-party (independent) candidates, but not as members of political parties or political movements. In practice, this significantly reduces their chances of success.
The Ombudsman has also long drawn attention to this problém. According to the Act on Association in Political Parties and Political Movements, only citizens of the Czech Republic can be members of political parties and political movements. "I consider this to be contrary to EU law. My argumentation in this matter found support in the opinion of the European Commission, which on 9 June 2021, after several years of preliminary proceedings, decided to bring an action against the Czech Republic before the EU Court of Justice," the Ombudsman recalled in a recent letter to the Minister of the Interior.