INFLUENCE OF EUROPEAN CHARTER OF LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT ON THE LEGISLATION OF TERRITORIAL SELF-GOVERNMENT IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
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Public administration is one of the decisive factors of assurance of external economic and social competitiveness of Czech society as well as a significant factor of maintaining inner social peace in its framework. The author discusses impact and significance of the European Charter of Local Self-Government ('the Charter'), adopted by the Coucil of Europe in Strassbourg on 15 October 1985 on the restoration of democratic territorial selfgovernment in Czechoslovakia and subsequently in the Czech Republic. In the Czech Republic, after long debates, the Charter entered into force on l September 1999.The negative reactions were based mostly on the generally contrary attitude of the decisive part of the political spectrum to decentralization and enhancement of the role of selfgovernment on the one hand and to the broadening of citizens' participation in the administration of public affairs and direct democracy on the other hand. That is why the Charter could be adopted only towards the end of the nineties when these obstacles had been partly overcome. However, the Charter exercised positive influence already on the origin and conception of the historically first restored communal order, viz. the Act No. 367/1990 Coli. (The Communal Act). The question is to what extent the principles of the Charter are really applied in legislative practice. Particularly poor application on local level can be observed in the proportion of direct and representative democracy. The new Communal Act (Act No. 128/2000 Coli.) extended significantly the possibilities of active citizens participation in the decision-making of communal self-government. The actual exercise of the citizens' legal rights, however, is made difficult by the procedural rules of a number of communal and city councils. Analogously the new codificaion of local referendum (Act No. 222/2000 Coli.) has made the organization of local referenda significantly more difficult by increasing the required number of citizens entitled to voting in the referendum from one quarter to one half of all citizens entered in voters' registers and the consent of more than half of participating voters for the referendum result to be valid. The first amendment of the Regional Act (Act No. 129/2000 Coli.) eliminated the possibility of regional referendum altogether.
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