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Local referendums often held in Czech Republic

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Prague, Sept 28 (CTK) – A total of 259 local referendums were held between 2006 and the present, almost three-quarters of which were binding, according to the data released by the Czech Interior Ministry on Thursday.

This means that in roughly 75 percent of local referendums a sufficient number of voters chose the alternative the local self-rule bodies had to respect.

Only 67 plebiscites did not meet the required criteria, due to which they were not binding.

Most, 39 direct votes were held 2007 and 2014, the least number, eight in 2006.

Senator Jiri Oberfalzer (Civic Democratic Party, ODS) said local referendum made great sense in the Czech Republic’s political system.

“People can express their views of the affairs which are close to them,” Oberfalzer said.

“They express views of the affairs on which they have the best consciousness,” he added.

Before 2008, a referendum was only binding if voter turnout was over 50 percent. An amendment then lowered the limit to the current 35 percent.

The limit of participation is not the only condition of the referendum to be binding.

At least 25 percent of all eligible voters in the given self-rule body must vote for one of the alternatives. In one case, the result of a referendum was changed in court. This occurred 2012 when the residents of a small town expressed themselves against the construction of wind-powered plants. However, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled that the referendum was not valid.

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