Czechia’s ruling coalition wins election in Senate

PRAGUE (AP) — A senior government party in the Czech Republic linked to conservative Prime Minister Petr Fiala has won an election for a third of the seats in Parliament’s upper house, with the ruling coalition parties retaining a dominant position in the Senate.

With all the votes counted Saturday by the Statistics Office, the Civic Democratic Party won eight of the 27 seats up for grabs in the 81-seat Senate in the two-round election.

Overall, the ruling coalition parties won 18 seats in the ballot.

Recent large demonstrations against the Czech government due to its handling of the energy crisis and its support for Ukraine didn’t translate into gains for the opposition.

Former populist Prime Minster Andrej Babis called the ballot a referendum about the government but his centrist ANO (YES) movement won only three seats. The major anti-migrant party, Freedom and Direct Democracy, remained without a single seat in the upper house.

Parliament’s lower house dominates the legislative process, but the Senate plays an important role in passing constitutional amendments and approving Constitutional Court judges.

The current Czech government firmly stands behind Ukraine after it was invaded by Russia. The country has donated arms, including heavy weapons, to the Ukrainian armed forces and welcomed some 430,000 refugees from Ukraine.

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