Czechs vote in Senate, local elections

AP News
Posted: Oct 10, 2014 11:58 AM

PRAGUE (AP) — Czechs are voting in a national election that the governing coalition hopes will maintain its control of the Senate, the upper house in Parliament.

Casting ballots on Friday and Saturday, voters are selecting one-third of the country's 81-seat Senate and new municipal governments.

Parliament's lower house dominates the legislative process, but the Senate plays an important role in passing constitutional amendments and approving Constitutional Court judges.

The Social Democrats, who lead the center-left coalition and control the Senate with 44 seats, have 23 of them being contested in the election. The coalition includes the ANO movement led by billionaire Andrei Babis and the Christian Democrats.

The coalition government remains popular since it took power in January after it canceled unpopular fees for doctors' visits and increased salaries for state employees.