Czech Republic Human Rights Minister Jiri Dienstbier called Monday for an open debate on whether foreigners should be allowed to vote in local elections.
Speaking in Prague, Dienstbier suggested the participation of foreigners who are long-term residents of the country from nations outside the European Union would contribute to their integration.
“There is a question of whether those living here for five to 10 years should be given the right to vote, at least on the local level,” he told the Prague Post. He noted most foreigners on a permanent stay consider the Czech Republic to be their new home.
About 441,500 foreigners currently reside in the Czech Republic, 238,000 of them permanently.
“They have proved they are, to a certain degree, integrated into society. Why should they not be given the opportunity to take part in the decision-making,” he said, adding that since only Czech citizens currently can vote, election laws would need to be amended.