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The Czech constitution gives the President a veto power on legislation, but this can be overridden by 50% (+1 I assume) of the absolute number of parliamentarians, which may be slightly difficult in case of slim majority etc. There are a number of press reports on a Czech president [apparently most if not all of them used this power at one point or another] using his veto or threatening to use it, but in most of these cases it's also said that the parliament vowed to override.

So, was there a case when a Czech president's veto or threat thereof was ultimately successful in blocking or changing a legislative proposal, i.e. the parliament could not convene the absolute majority required to override?

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  • I had a similar thought when I read about the powers (or lack thereof) of the Czech President. Presumably legislation requires 50% (+1) to pass, so the threat of a veto that only requires 50% (+1) to override seems to be a bit pointless. Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 9:48
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    @DavidHammen: normal passing of legislation usually doesn't require an absolute majority, but only a majority of those present. Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 9:49
  • So while it might be a slim chance, it is still possible that a veto can work. Thanks. I was being thick. Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 10:04

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Yes - in his first term, Václav Havel vetoed four bills which the Chamber of Deputies did not subsequently overrule. Additionally, he used his power under the Constitution to refer to the Constitutional Court one bill that he vetoed but the Chamber overruled. The Court subsequently decided to annul the bill. A full list of his uses of the veto are available here. In his second term, all his uses of the veto were overruled, but he appealed three acts to the Court, which struck out the disputed passages.

Subsequent presidents have also made use of the veto, and while in the majority of cases the veto is overruled, in a substantial number of cases the veto is successful. In particular, President Klaus seems to have vetoed a number of bills close enough to the end of a parliament's term that the Chamber did not have time to discuss and vote on overruling the veto.

I think the table of successful vetos below is complete, however in November 2022 President Zeman vetoed 'a law amending Act No. 234/2014 Coll., on civil service, as amended, and other related laws'. This has yet to be debated by the Chamber of Deputies.

Regarding the threat of a veto - President Zeman has consistently advised Parliament of his intention to veto any bill which would legalise same-sex marriage - in both 2019 and 2022 - and such a bill has yet to reach his desk, so I suppose you could count that as a successful use of the threat of a veto.

President Act Result
Havel Act of July 7, 1993 amending and supplementing Act c. 13/1993 Coll., customs law, as amended by Act c. 35/1993 Coll Not overruled
Havel Act of April 19, 1995 amending Act No. 37/1989 Coll., on protection against alcoholism and other drug addictions, as amended by law c. 425/1990 Coll. Not overruled
Havel Act of April 20, 1995, on awarding certain participants nationally the struggle for liberation in connection with the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. Not overruled
Havel Act of January 22, 1997 amending and supplementing Act c.138/1973 Coll., on water (water law), as amended by Act CNR c. 425/1990 Coll., and Act c. 114/1995 Coll. Not overruled
Havel Act of June 12, 1997 amending Act CNR c.246/1992 Coll., for the protection of animals against cruelty, as amended. Anulled by Court
Havel Act of July 7, 2000 amending Act No. 247/1995 Coll., on elections to the Parliament of the Czech Republic and amending and supplementing certain other laws, as amended by Act No. 212/1996 Coll. and the decision of the Constitutional Court published under No. 243/1999 Coll., Act No. 99/1963 Coll., the Code of Civil Procedure, as amended, and Act No. 2/1969 Coll., on the establishment of ministries and other central state bodies administration of the Czech Republic, as amended Court annulled the disputed passage
Havel Act of July 7, 2000 amending Act No. 424/1991 Coll. , on association in political parties and political movements, as amended, Act No. 586/1992 Coll., on income taxes, as amended, and Act No. 357/1992 Coll. , on inheritance tax, gift tax and property transfer tax, as amended Court annulled the disputed passage
Havel Act of October 27, 2000 amending Act No. 6/1993 Coll., on the Czech National Bank , as amended, and Act No. 166/1993 Coll., on the Supreme Audit Office , as amended Court annulled the disputed passage
Klaus Act of January 21, 2005 on the assessment of noise in the environment and on the amendment of Act No. 250/2000 Coll., on the budgetary rules of territorial budgets, as amended Not overruled
Klaus Act of August 19, 2005 amending Act No. 141/1961 Coll., on criminal court proceedings (penal code), as amended, and Act No. 140/1961 Coll., Criminal Code, as amended Not overruled
Klaus Act of April 25, 2006 amending Act No. 241/1992 Coll., on the State Fund of the Czech Republic for the Support and Development of Czech Cinematography , as amended, and Act No. 586/1992 Coll., on Income Taxes , as amended Not overruled
Klaus Act of May 23, 2006 amending Act No. 128/2000 Coll., on municipalities ( municipal establishment ), as amended, Act No. 129/2000 Coll., on regions (regional establishment), as amended, and Act No. 131 /2000 Coll., on the capital city of Prague, as amended Not overruled
Klaus Act of May 23, 2006 on the protection of economic competition and on the amendment of certain laws (Act on the Protection of Economic Competition), as amended Not overruled
Klaus Act of May 23, 2006 on replacement alimony and on the amendment of some related laws Not overruled
Klaus Act of May 23, 2006 amending Act No. 20/1966 Coll., on public health care, as amended, and certain other laws Not overruled
Klaus Act of February 5, 2008 amending Act No. 246/1992 Coll., on the protection of animals against cruelty , as amended, Act No. 634/2004 Coll., on administrative fees, as amended, and Act No. 114/1992 Coll. , on nature and landscape protection , as amended Not overruled
Klaus Act of May 18, 2010 on horticultural activity and the adjustment of certain conditions of its operation Not overruled
Klaus Act of May 18, 2010 on the Czech National Bank Not overruled
Klaus Act of May 20, 2010 amending Act No. 202/1990 Coll., on lotteries and other similar games, as amended Not overruled
Zeman Act of April 27, 2013 amending Act No. 185/2001 Coll., on waste and amending certain other laws, as amended, Act No. 25/2008 Coll., on the integrated register of environmental pollution and the integrated system for fulfilling reporting obligations in the field of the environment and on the amendment of certain laws, as amended, and Act No. 56/2001 Coll., on the conditions for the operation of vehicles on roads, as amended Not overruled
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