24. 07. 2014
Foreigners from EU states with a long-time residence permit in the Czech Republic have been denied the right to take part in local elections which is at variance with European law.
The ombudsman Anna Šabatova explained at the press conference that only those with a permanent residence can vote, but not those with a temporary but long-term stay. Their fundamental right is not ensured. The ombudsman has already alerted Minister of Interior to this and asked him to amend the relevant law.
The ombudsman is convinced foreigners from EU countries with long-time residence permit in the Czech Republic could vote in this autumn's local elections already: "Primary European law can be applied directly in this case, that is before the legislative procedure of changing laws is completed," Sabatova said and added that 160,000 foreigners from the EU countries are registered in the Czech Republic. Some 85,000 of them are Slovaks. A part of them have acquired a permanent residence permit so they already can vote. The ombudsman estimates that dozens of thousands of the EU citizens living in the Czech Republic cannot vote.
They naturally concentrate in large towns and their votes could mainly influence the composition of assemblies in Prague and Brno, the two largest cities in the country.Foreigners from EU countries could already vote in the spring European Parliament elections thanks to the relevant legislation.