UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Are second chambers seen as a safeguard for democracy? Evidence from the Czech Republic

07 March 2024, 3:00 pm–5:00 pm

Czech senate discussion

A SSEES Politics and Sociology seminar with Jan Hruška

This event is free.

Event Information

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Masaryk room
UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies
16 Taviton street

In recent years, we have witnessed democratic backsliding in Poland and Hungary. After Andrej Babiš (Prime Minister 2017-2021) took power and introduced a series of proposals to transform the constitutional system, the Czech Republic was perceived as another possible case of democratic backsliding in East Central Europe. However, no major reforms took place, and the process of democratic backsliding did not occur in Czechia. This presentation will focus on the role of the upper chamber of the Czech Parliament (the Senate) in preventing democratic backsliding, as the Senate's primary role is to ensure stability and guard the democratic constitutional system. Specifically, the presentation will show how the Senate's role in preventing democratic backsliding is perceived by 1) senators themselves and 2) the general public. The research is based on two rounds of semi-structured interviews (with two subgroups of 30 citizens and 14 senators). The presentation will demonstrate, among other things, how significantly the perceptions of elites and ordinary citizens can differ.

This event will be livestreamed online.

Jan Hruška is a PhD student in his final year at the Department of Political Science, Masaryk University, Czechia. He is interested in the research of bicameralism, electoral behavior, political institutions, and Czech politics. In his dissertation, Jan focuses on the perceptions of the Czech upper chamber by both the general public and the senators themselves. Jan has previously completed a study stay at the University of Bologna and is currently undertaking a fellowship at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies as the recipient of the Bracewell Travelling Scholarship. He has previously published in East European Politics and Societies, Czech Journal of Political Science, and The Journal of Legislative Studies (forthcoming 2024).

ORCID 0000-0002-5667-8430

Email: jan.hruska@mail.muni.cz

Image credit: ©Kancelář Senátu