They will not only decide who will contribute to the direction the EU will take over the next five years and to the European legislation which will affect Czech legislation. Their votes will also affect the Czech political scene, since these elections will be the most extensive test before autumn early elections to the Chamber of Deputies, indicating how satisfied people are with the present political representation.
The Elector will choose twenty-two Czech Members of European Parliament from the choice of 32 political formations totalling over 700 candidates. Over eight million Czechs with the right to vote have the opportunity to decide who will in the end become Czech MEPs. The turnout during the last Euro elections, five years ago was only one third of the eligible electors.
Polling stations will open at 2 p.m. at almost 15,000 addresses nationwide. At the elections, voters must present an identity card – i.e. either national identity card or passport. Those who have not received ballots will obtain them from election commissioners together with an envelope with the official stamp. One voter can give only up to two preferential votes to those candidates that he or she would like to see in the European Parliament. The voter than puts the ballot in the election envelope into the ballot box.
Also the Irish will choose their MEPs today. For them it could be a test before the second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty reforming the extended EU. It is expected that the main government party will take a trimming due to the economic crisis, the pro-European orientation of the country, however, should not be affected.
The first election day in the Czech Republic will end two hours before midnight. The elections will then resume the following day at 8 a.m. and close at 2 p.m. The same day, Euro elections will be held in Slovakia, Cyprus, Malt, Italy and Latvia. The British and Dutch have already voted on Thursday. The election results will not be known until Monday, though. Election commissioners will not be allowed to start counting votes until Sunday at 10 p.m., when the elections end in the rest of the EU countries.
Czech Statistical Office will publish the results at www.volby.cz. For the first time, it will do so without its President, Jan Fischer, who became Prime Minister after Mirek Topolánek’s government had been dissolved. Since April 28th, Mr. Fischer has been substituted by Vice-President, Jiří Křovák.