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Country and Language

Czech Republic

Location and Borders

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in the middle of central Europe. The country borders Germany to the west, Poland to the north, Slovakia to the east and Austria to the south. Thanks to its position, the Czech Republic is called the "heart" of Europe.

The area and the traditional regions

The area of the Czech Republic is 78,867km². It consists of historical parts Bohemia, Moravia and a part of Silesia. The capital city is Prague.

Administrative structure - regions and regional cities

The Czech Republic has 7 territorial regions and 14 self-governing regions. Each region has its own regional city.

Territorial region (the seat of the region)

  1. Central Bohemia region (Prague)
  2. South Bohemia region (České Budějovice)
  3. West Bohemia region (Plzeň)
  4. North Bohemia region (Ústí nad Labem)
  5. East Bohemia region (Hradec Králové)
  6. South Moravia region (Brno)
  7. North Moravia region (Ostrava)

Self-governing region - county (county seat)

  1. The capital city Prague
  2. Central Bohemia region (Prague)
  3. Ústí region (Ústí nad Labem)
  4. Karlovy Vary region (Karlovy Vary)
  5. Plzeň region (Plzeň)
  6. South Bohemia region (České Budějovice)
  7. Liberec region (Liberec)
  8. Hradec Králové region (Hradec Králové)
  9. Pardubice region (Pardubice)
  10. Highlands region (Jihlava)
  11. South Moravia region (Brno)
  12. Olomouc region (Olomouc)
  13. Zlín region (Zlín)
  14. Moravian-Silesian region (Ostrava)

Population and large cities

There are about 10.5 million inhabitants in the Czech Republic.

The capital city Prague has about 1.3 million inhabitants.

Prague is the political, administrative, economical and cultural center of the country.

The other big Czech cities are Brno (about 400,000 inhabitants), Ostrava (about 330,000) and Plzeň (about 180,000).

The Czech Republic has recently been facing the same demographical problems as other European countries. The birth rate is very low here (it was 1.27 children per woman in 2012) and in the 90s the population even went down slightly. The average life expectancy is 79 years for women, 72.5 years for men (as of 2005) and is increasing.

71% of the population lives in urban areas.

Name and state symbols

The Czech Republic was founded on January 1, 1993 when Czechoslovakia split.The official name of the state according to the Constitution is the Czech Republic, with the public rejecting the the shortened name Czechia.

The state symbols are the large and small national emblem, the national flag, the Presidential standard, the state seal, the national colors and the national anthem.

The large national emblem consists of a Czech lion (a lion is a symbol of strength and bravery) with a Moravian and Silesian eagle.

The national flag is white, red and blue (tricolour).

The first section of the song Where is my home? has become the Czech national anthem. It was composed by František Škroup in the 19th century for Josef Kajetán Tyl's play "Fidlovačka".

An important unofficial symbol of the Czech Republic is the regalia - crown, sceptre and orb. They are kept at the Prague Castle.

For more about the state symbols of the Czech Republic, see http://www.hrad.cz/cs/ceska-republika/statni-symboly.shtml.

Political system

The Czech Republic is a parliamentary democracy. The fundamental law of the country is the Constitution of the Czech Republic, which together with the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms and some other laws form the constitutional code of the Czech Republic. The constitution in its present form has been in force since January 1, 1993, when a separate Czech state was established.

The power is divided into legislative (Parliament), executive (the government and the president) and judicial.

Legislative power

The Parliament of the Czech Republic is formed by two houses: The Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

The Chamber of Deputies has 200 members who are elected for a period of 4 years. A deputy can must be a Czech citizen who is older than 21. The Senate has 81 senators who are elected for a period of 6 years (one third of the senate is elected every two years). To become a senator a person must be a Czech citizen who is older than 40 years old.

Every citizen of the Czech Republic who is older than 18 can vote.

The basic powers of the Chamber of Deputiesare to debate and pass laws and to check the actions of the government. They also approve the state budget.

The Senate is the balancing force to the Chamber of Deputies. It discusses and approves laws that the deputies pass to it. The senators may pass the laws and forward them to the President, return them with comments for further discussion back to the Chamber of Deputies, or reject them. The Chamber of Deputies, however, can always overrule the Senate and pass the law. The Senate can also expresses (dis) agreement with international treaties, with the appointment of judges of the Constitutional Court and it has a number of other functions.

Executive power

The executive power is the government and the president.

The government is formed and manged by the prime minister, who also nominates ministers. The ministers are responsible for the activities of their individual ministries.

The head of the state is the president. The president is elected directly by the Czech people for a period of 5 years. The president appoints and removes the government from office or the ministers, dissolves the House of Deputies and etc. He/she has the right to grant a pardon, declare amnesty, veto a law passed by the Parliament. He/she is also the supreme commander of the Czech Army. The president resides in the Prague Castle and possesses one of the seven keys from the door to the Crown Chamber in St Wenceslas chapel of the Cathedral of Sts. Vitus, Wenceslas and Adalbert, where the Czech crown jewels are kept.

Judicial power

Judicial power consists of a system of independent courts - the Supreme Court, the Supreme Administrative Court, high, regional and district courts.The Constitutional Court sees to observance of the Constitution. It consists of 15 judges, who are appointed for a period of 10 years.

Political parties

There is a whole range of political parties and movements in the Czech Republic. To become members of the Chamber of Deputies the parties need to get at least 5% of rightful votes. The biggest parties are now CSSD, ANO, Communist Party, TOP09, ODS, Dawn of Direct Democracy and KDU-CSL

See more:

Participation in international organizations

The Czech Republic is a member of the United Nations (UN, since January 19th, 1993), the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO, since March 12th 1999), the European Union (EU, since May 1st, 2004) and other international organization. Since December 21st, 2007 it has also been a part of the Schengen area.

Overview of basic information

Official title
Czech Republic
Capital city
Prague
Largest City
Prague (based on the population)
State language
Czech
System of government
Republic
Political system
Parliamentary Democracy
Date of Independence
January 1, 1993
The president
Miloš Zeman
The Prime minister
Bohuslav Sobotka
Area
78 867 km2
Population
10526214 (data for 2011)
Population density
133 inhabitants per square km
Ethnicity
Czech/Moravian/Silesian nationality (69.4%), Slovak nationality (1.4%), Ukrainian (0.5%), Polish (0.4%), Vietnamese (0.3%), German, Russian, Hungarian, Roma, Ruthenian and other nationalities (26.9%)
Religion
no religion (34.2%), some kind of declared belief or religion (20.6%, 10.3% out of whom are Roman Catholic), other religions and beliefs (10.3%), no data (45.2%)
Currency
Czech crown (CZK)
Time zone
CET/SEČ (UTC+1)
Summer time
CEST/SELČ (UTC+2)
International code
CZ
Internet domain
.cz
International dialling code
+420
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