A Quotation from the current Czech Constitution:
“All Power comes from the People. The People exert power through Political Parties.”
In 1998, the First International Conference/Congress on Direct Democracy was held in Přibram, Czech Republic. Thanks to the chairman and chief organizer, Prof. Ph.D. Theodore L. Becker, USA, participants came from all continents except Africa, even t.ex. from Australia, Japan, and South Korea. Most of them agreed that it would be useful and desirable to stay in touch during the following years. In order to facilitate mutual contacts, as well as in order to preserve the history of these contacts and various actions taking place in various countries, it was also agreed that we would publish a quarterly called Worldwide Direct Democracy Newsletter with Ph.D. Jiři Polak, Sweden/Czech Republic, as editor in chief.
Naturally, not all persevered and during the years, regrettably, a few dear colleagues have passed away. Nevertheless, many remain in touch, occasionally, and go on carrying the torch. Among them, there are some prominent persons. Let me mention at least three: Senator Mike Gravel, USA, who contributed to the fall of President Nixon owing to the Watergate scandal, prevented plans to test nuclear weapons in the Pacific, etc.; Prof. P.D. Peter C. Dienel’, Germany, (deceased), who introduced to the DD movement a deliberative method called Planing Cells. Prof.Dienel was a personal friend of the former President of Germany, Johannes and Prof. Ph. D. Milan Zelený, USA, an internationally renowned professor at the Fordham University, New York.
Organizations, discussion circles and even individuals promoting the idea of Direct Democracy went on appearing in many western countries. The most important among them is probably the German Mehr Demokratie which has thousands of paying members, paid editorial staff, and own periodical. In the USA, we can mention e.g. National Initiative for Democracy and the Occupy Movement, in Great Britain I&Rgb or INIREF, in Ukraine the Academy of Direct Democracy, In Czech Republic the HzPD (Movement for Direct Democracy), in Greece the Greek DD Movement and others. The basic program of all these organizations and activists is expressed by I&R – Initiative and Referendum, i.e. The right of grassroot citizens to force the political leadership to organize a referendum on an issue, if a petition demanding that gains suport of a sufficient number of signatures. In this way, only individual issues can be corrected, while the political system itself remains more or less uchanged.
However, beside these ’’mainstream” procedures, a growing number of citizens strive for a change of the very system. Participants of the two conferences chaired by Prof. Becker demanded just that. A strong movement in Czech Republic is focused on an enforcement of a referendum concerning the adoption of a new, Citizens‘ Constitution.
At least four drafts of such a Constitution, written by ordinary citizens, without the participation of any political party, exist already. There are plans to register this movement, thereby increasing its official status. Undoubtedly, development goes in the direction of rule by the people instead of rule by parties. This change of paradigm might be the only way to save our civilization, threatened by global catastrophes, especially the climate change and deterioration of natural environment on which we all depend for our survival.
Board of Advisors:
Prof. Theodore L. Becker, USA Eng. Zdenek Trinkewitz, Czech Republic
Prof. Milan Zeleny, USA Ph.D. Mgr. Milus Kotisova, Czech Rewpublic
Jiri Polak, Sweden/Czech Republic Ph.D. Radoslav Stedron, Czech Republic
Eng. Jan Piroutek, Czech Republic
Draft of a Citizens´ Constitution
based on the proposal presented by
Eng.Zdenek Trinkewitz, Mgr.Miluš Kotišová and PhD. Jiri Polak
Citizens´ Constitution of Czech Republic
The concern of the people and their political representation, and with regard to the international community of nations, is to maintain Czech Republic´s independence vis-à-vis foreign powers, but at the same time to cultivate and develop as good and peaceful neigbour relations as possible, while cultivating and developing good and peaceful global relations in the spirit of multipolar balance of power. In the area of military defence, Czech Republic strictly maintains the principle of pure defence, that is waging war only in case of attack against its own territory and inside that territory, for the purpose of repelling an aggressor and protecting freedom and citizen rights.
- Inside their own country, the purpose of the people and its political representation is the preservation of peace and order, protection of freedom and citizen rights defined in the General Declaration of Human Rights, and promotion of common prosperity.
- All citizens are equal in law. In Czech Republic, there is no subordination, no privileges due to domicile, birth, origin, family or persoonal relations. Legislation and judicial power are based on natural rights respecting the spirit rather than the wording of law. Judicial processes may not last beyond limits stipulated by the penal code.
- Men and women are equal. The law guarantees their equality, especially in the family, in education systems and in the work place. Men and women are guaranteed by law to receive equal salary for the same work.
- The Parliament only adopts and promulgates national laws enumerated by this Constitution. Other laws, decrees and public notices are within the jurisdiction and responsibility of regional representative bodies. The final verdict on Constitutionality of the promulgated legal regulations is passed by the Constitutional Court.
- Only the Parliament, authorized by the people, has the right to declare war and conclude peace, join international organizations and conclude treaties, especially concerning customs and commerce, with other states.
- Spiritual, atheist and similar movements, whose teaching and practice are not at variance with the General Declaration of Human Rights and the Constitution, are permissible and equal, but they are not in any way supported or suppressed by Czech Republic.
- Members of authorities of Czech Republic, civil or military officials and representatives, as well as members of territorial representative offices and their officials, are not allowed to accept salaries, incomes or titels, gifts or orders from foreign governments.
- In his/her domicile, every citizen enjoys all rights of citizen of the Republic, region and township.
The territorial and Representative System
Article 1 State Frontiers
The frontiers of the territory of Czech Republic are defined by international agreements and contracts valid at the date when this Constitution comes into force, and they are inviolable. They can only be changed by a constitutional law subject to authorization by a national referendum.
Article 2 Territorial Division
The territory of Czech Republic is divided into eight administrative regions:
Prag North-Bohemian North-Moravian
South-Bohemian Central Moravian
Article 3 The Subsidiarity Principle
(1) According to Subsidiarity Principles, the regions are sovereign in all administrative areas not reserved for the authority of the Republic and not at variance with this Constitution.
(2) Directions passed by the State have to respect subsidiarity and the competence of self-governing territorial authorities.
Political System of Czech Republic
(1) The only sovereign of Czech Republic is its people. To the greatest possible extent, the Czech Republic´s political system has to fulfill the ideals of democracy as power of the people.
(2) All elected administrative offices are obliged to make accessible for citizen control all documents concerning their activities, their dealings and their decisions.
- (1) The Citizens´ Constitution of Czech Republic preserves a parliamentary system based on a Parliament consisting of representatives – MPs – elected for 4 years´ periods by direct election, in single mandate´s electoral districts.
- (2) In the regions, elections of regional councils are organized according the same rules.
Article 6 The Parliament
(1) It consists of 121 members. Parliamentary elections are direct and take place every four years, at the end of each parliamentary period. They take place in 121 single mandate districts organized so as to consist of roughly the same number of legitimate voters (regardless of the territorial division of regions and communities). Candidacy is open to any qualified citizen who pays the administrative tax equal to statistically average montly income of a physical person in the previous year. It is not permitted to be elected for any post two times consecutively; Every mandate has to be followed by a pause. More detailed instructions concerning election procedures will be set by the election law.
(2) During the mandate period, the MPs are recallable, if so demanded by more than one half of voters registered in the respective election district. If permitted by law, it is even possible to hold premature extraordinary elections.
(3) Members of Parliament enjoy immunity for utterances and activities within the framework of the legislative, supervisory and interpellatory activities in the Chamber, but not for offences, misdeeds, and crimes prohibited by law.
(4) MPs, representatives and all directly elected high civil servants are subject to recall at any time, if so decided by their voters in referendum.
(5) The Parliament of Czech Republic has legislative power for the whole Republic in the following areas:
a. Civil code
b. Commercial code
c. Penal code
d. Law on courts and judges
e. Law on State procuration
f. Law on competence
g. Law on administration (including law on civil service)
h. Law on national defence
i. Environmental law
j. Law on natural resources
k. Law on social services (work, education, health, social care)
l. Law on the customs
m. Law on the monetary system, the Czech National Bank and the banking system
n. Law on State budget
o. Law on citizen associations
p. Law on nation-wide operational and safety regulations of infrastructural systems
q. Laws on integral public and private information systems
(6) This list of laws can only be enlarged by a change of Constitution.
(7) The laws, decrees and public notices passed by regional representative bodies and concerning the respective regions, are based on the same principles as the basic laws of the Republic. It is desirable that the laws and decrees passed by regions be unified as much as possible and only differ as to the characteristics of the respective regions. The Government and the regions establish an Association of regional councils and a common Unification Authority.
(8) When passing regional decrees (laws) and implementing them, legislative initiative is within the competence of Regional Councils and the Association of Regional Councils.
(9) The political system guarantees private property and liberal market economy, but consequently based on current rules of honest undertaking. Dishonestly acquired property will forfeit to the State according to a legitimate ruling passed by a court of justice.
(10) When adopting new laws, the legislators act with utmost restraint and good judgement. The content of the laws has to be consistent, they may not contain inconsistent insertions. If so, the inconsistent part is automatically not valid. The Parliament keeps the corpus of the laws in appropriate number, length and quality, writes them in a clear and understandable language, does not tolerate duplicity and above all, adopts new laws only after a thorough and broad social debate taking place well in advance – at least one year before te law in question comes into force.
Article 7 President of the Republic
(1) The President of the Republic, regional Chief Officers, communal Mayors and Magistrates, Chief Justices, Prosecutors, Police Presidents, heads of central offices (National Bank, Customs Offices, the supreme Price, Anti-monopoly, Statistic Authority etc) are elected directly by the citizens.
(2) The President is elected by all qualified voters of the Republic, at most by two-steps election from candidates proposed by registered citizen associations or ad hoc citizen initiatives who support their proposal by a petition signed by 1.000 or more voters.
(3) Only a person who has acquired citizenship of Czech Republic by birth, has reached the age of 40 years and has resided in Czech Republic at least for 10 years can be eligible for the office of President.
(4) A President can loose his/her office only if found guilty of inexcusable violation of the Constitution, high treason, bribery or other severe crimes, and doomed by the Constitutional Court.
(5) Any office-holder mentioned in (1), if he/she breaks his/her oath or promise during his/her mandate is subject to recall by his/her voters by referendum according to CHAPTER IX.
Authorities of the President
(6) The President has the right of veto when signing all laws, except the Constitution and constitutional laws, as well as other rulings of the Parliament which he has the authority to sign, and he has the right to add his objections and comments; he has also the right to demand that the Parliament takes up the matter again.
(7) If the Parliament insists to keep the original standpoint, the President may repeat the veto. However, in such a case, the final decision has to be made by national referendum, proclaimed within 60 days. If the referendum votes against the veto of the President, he/she has to resign and a new President has to be elected.
(8) The President nominates and recalls the chairman and other members of the Government and accepts their resignation, recalls the Government and accepts its resignation. He/she can demand information from the Government and its members and is authorized to discuss with the Government or its members issues within their competence.
(9) He/she convokes and dissolves the Parliament.
(10) He nominates the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, its President and vice-Presidents and the President and Vice-Presidents of the Supreme Court.
(11) He/she nominates the President and Vice-President of the Control Office.
(12) With the consent of the Parliament, he/she nominates ambassadors, other representatives of the State and consuls, the Bank Council and the highest officials of Czech Republic established by law.
(13) He/she represents the State abroad in all international activities of the Republic.
(14) He/she is the Commander in Chief of the armed forces, nominates and promotes generals.
(15) He/she Declares parliamentary elections.
(16) The President of the Republic has the right, at any time on request, to attend sessions of the Parliament and its committees and commissions.
(17) The President of the Republic has the right to attend and preside over sessions of the Government. He/she also has the right to demand information from the Government and its members and to discuss with the Government or its members issues belonging to their competence.
(18) The President of the Republic gives his/her opinion on the Government´s annual report presented for the Parliament and recommends to the Parliament measures he/she considers necessary and useful. In extraordinary circumstances, on consideration, he/she convokes Parliament.
(19) He/she can demand to receive from highest officials of all ministries and regions written statements concerning their offices.
Article 8 Goverment of the Republic
(1) The highest executive and steering organ of Czech Republic is the Government which has
15 members at most.
(2) After the election into the parliament, the President of Republic nominate a of deputies – the primeminister, to form a Governement, which is capable to gain the confidence from majority of the Parliament. The nominate governement prepare his political program and reqest the Parliament for his confidence. After that, the governement is confirmed. If not, the President must select the next candidate. After the third failure must the President proclaim the new elections.
(3) The Government can ask the Parliament for a declaration of confidence.
(4) The Parliament can pronounce a vote of non-confidence for the Government.
(5) The Prime minister presents his/her demission in the hands of the President of the Republic. The other members of Government present their demission in the the hands of the President of the Republic through the intermediary of the Prime Minister.
Article 9 Regional Councils and Hetmans
(1) Territorial self-governing units are territorial communities of citizens who have the right to self-government, except the issues reserved for the organs of the Republic.
(2) A high territorial unit is steered by self-government exerted by its hetmans, councils and representative bodies. Their functioning periods are 4 years.
(3) The State can interfere in the activities of territorial self-governing units only if necessary for the protection of a national law and only in a way prescribed by law.
(4) Public deeds and documents of single self-governing territorial units are recognized in the whole territory of Czech Republic. The Parliament can decide on the legal power of such deeds and documents by general legislation.
(5) The community is always part of a higher territorial self-governing unit.
(6) Regional Councils and hetmans are elected by direct election.
Article 10 Informative Power
(1) It consists of a network of all sorts of public media at all levels of the State structure – national, regional and communal.
(2) Steering authority is exerted by Medial Councils at these levels, chairmen and members of which are elected by direct citizen election, analogous to the election of representatives and equally subject to recall. The Medial Councils nominate and recall chairmen of the media.
(3) The task of the informative power is to supply as complete and objective information as possible, concerning both domestic and and foreign events; to supply a forum for all sorts of opinion and social activities; to facilitate access to important works of art and science and to bring news about important sporting and amusement events for all sorts of citizens of Czech Republic. Information may not be limited and distorted by interest groups in the way this happens in private commercial media.
(4) Information is supplied to citizens free of charge, as public service. The Informative Power is fully financed from State budget and from own non-profit undertaking, not at variance with the service´s public mission.
Article 11 The Constitutional Court
(1) The Constitutional Court judges are nominated by the President of the Republic for 9 years and they can only be recalled by a unanimous ruling of all other judges of the Constitutional Court.
(2) If so proposed by a natural or juridical person, the Constitutional Court decides on whether rulings of lower courts, on the exertion of power of State administration and the like, are consistent or at variance with the Constitution of Czech Republic. The ruling of the Constitutional Court is final and has legal power at the term stipulated by it.
(3) Persons responsible for dereliction of duty to fulfil a ruling of the Constitutional Court are immediately suspended and replaced by other persons.
Article 12 Common Courts and the respective State agencies
Territorially, they are organized in three layers – the Supreme Court, regional courts, district courts. Pertinence depends on the place of the crime; the case is assigned to the judge in turn. Members of the court can always appeal from the judgement to a higher court.
It is not possible to appeal from the ruling of the Supreme Court, which is final, but the Constitutional Court admits appeals from rulings which are at variance with the Constitution.
Article 13 Jury Courts
Serious crimes justiciable by more than 5 years sentences are treated by Jury Courts. Jurors are selected by lottery (or by random selection) from the citizen public.
Article 14 Sovereignty of the people of Czech Republic
(1) The supreme power in the State resides in the people of Czech Republic. The people delegates it, voluntarily but conditionally, to the duly elected Parliament and other representative bodies.
(2) At the same time, to the highest possible degree, according to the subsidiarity principle, self-governance of regions and communities is respected.
(3) In cases defined in CHAPTER IX, the people exerts its supreme power directly, by referendum proceedings.
Referendum and Deliberative Citizen Teams
Article 15 Referendum and Deliberative Teams
(1) Referendum is one of the basic attributes of the sovereignty of the People, who´s authority of decision is final.
(2) Before the referendum takes place, its organizer – the respective office (CHAPTER 4) has to establish Deliberative Teams, consisting equally of representatives of State administration and representatives of the citizens, who discuss and propose the formulation of the referendum wording.
(3) Members of Citizen Deliberative Teams are randomly selected from pools consisting of citizens volunteering to be selected ad hoc for this purpose.
(4) The Deliberative Teams are organized and financed by the respective administrative office.
(5) There are three types of referenda:
A. Obligatory state-wide concerning:
a) Approval and changes of Constitution
b) Changes of the territory of Czech Republic
c) Declaration of war and conclusion of peace
d) Conclusion of international contracts and alliances, especially those limiting the sovereignty of Czech Republic
e) Deciding on the veto of the President and of sentencing him/her for high treason
B. Declared by State organs at all levels of government, with the purpose of checking the standpoint of the citizens towards the measures proposed, which are included in their competence.
C. Initiated by citizen petition fulfilling the respective quorum:
- State-wide 2%
- regional 4% of registered voters
- local 10%
(6) The validity of the referendum may not be limited by any conditions stipulating a quorum, just like elections for representative organs. Decisions are made by the citizens who want to actively participate in governing the State. The citizens who do not vote renounce willingly their right to decide.
Article 16 Obligation to respect Human Rights in Czech Republic
According to the Article 23 – 26 of the General Declaration of Human Rights:
(1) The political system guarantees respect for human rights, concerning a dignified life according to the principle of social solidarity of successful and healthy citizens with less successful and handicaped ones.
This cannot be considered as compulsory charity on the part of the successful ones, but as respect for social peace and just, rational distribution of the social product among employers, employees and non-productive citizens, so as to avoid economic crises caused by lack of balance between production and consumption, to the detriment of both the rich and the poor, hampering society´s cultural and economic progress.
(2) Every adult and fully qualified citizen has the right to interrupt his/her physical life by euthanasia – by way defined i the respective law.
Keeping the State Budget
Article 17 Balance between incomes and outlays
(1) All the time, The State keeps outlays and incomes in balance.
If the State debt exceeds 5% of the gross income, the Government and Parliament have to propose a plan of refundig it within 10 years at the latest, and to submit it for national referendum.
(2) The highest amount of the permitted total outlays depends on the expected incomes and the assessment of the economic situation.
(3) If extraordinary outlays are unavoidable, the highest amount according to (2) can be adequately increased. The increase must be authorized by Parliament.
Article 18 The principles of Tax Policy
The Tax Policy, especially the magnitude of the taxes and their substance, is set by law. It is necessary to take into consideration which layers of population they affect, how adequately, and what is their economic efficiency.
Article 19 The Educational System
(1) Every citizen has the right to education at all degrees.
(2) The State establishes schools of all grades, the quality of which is comparable to the world level and possessing a capacity corresponding to qualified prognoses of economic and demographic development.
(3) Education supplied by state elementary, medium level and high schools is free of charge.
(4) Even other entities have the right to found commercial private schools of all degrees, if their quality satisfies at least the same criteria as State schools.
Article 20 The System of Health Security
(1) The State provides State health care establishments of all kinds and degrees, possessing a sufficient capacity and professional level, comparable to the international level; all these activities are planned according to prognoses of demographic and medical development.
(2) All citizens enjoy compulsory health insurance at the State Health Insurance Office and all are entitled, according to law, to free health care at international level.
(3) Even other entities have the right to establish commercial health care centers and health insurance offices, as long as their quality and statutes fulfil valid prescriptions and requests according to law.
Article 21 The System of Social Insurance
All earners pay obligatory pension insurance to the State pension Insurance Office, graduated according to their income. The level of old age pension is set according to the development of statistically average income of earners, depending on the insured person´s individual insurance.
(2) Unemployment and Injury
This earners´ insurance has to be paid partially by employers and partiallt by employees, according to their net income. The level of the insurance is set by law.
The level of unemployment assistance is calculated and adjusted by law, depending on the average net income of the earners.
(3) Social Distress
a) Persons who´s assistance according to (1) and (2) is insufficient to assure their existence minimum, are entitled to receive additional assistance from local authorities, provided that they participate in local public services.
b) Persons not entitled to assistance according to (1) and (3a) receive existence minimum benefits from local authorities. These benefits may also be granted physically, not in the form of money.
Rules of Transition
(1) Before this Consitution acquires legal force, all laws and lower level documents, in force to date, remain valid. Legal continuity applies.
(2) From the next day, the rules set by this Constitution, Sections III and V, enter in force. That means that the Regions and their boards of representatives have the authority to cancel and adjust existing rules, as well as adopt law-making documents according to CHAPTER IV (7).
Article 23 Czech National Bank
(1) Before Czech Republic joins any international monetary union, in Czech Republic the exclusive emission bank for Czech currency and bank credits exceding its own assets, is Czech National Bank.
Private banks operating in Czech Republic may give credits only up their own indubitable assets.
(2) Czech National Bank has monopoly on purchasing bonds of Czech Republic and on prohibiting their sales to any other subject.
(3) It issues all licences for financial undertaking in Czech Republic and all the time controlls its legality. It exerts bank supervision. It is obliged to cancel licences of private subjects of financial undertaking in cases of dereliction of their duties imposed by law.
(4) It guarantees the stability of the currency of Czech Republic which it protects by emission policy and operations in the financial market.
(5) The Czech National Bank is managed by a Governor and a Bank Council, nominated by the President of the Republic according to a proposal put forward by the Parliament. They are recallable at any time, according to the CHAPTER IX, Article 15 (5) C.