MF Dnes: Euro elections Could Sweep Å pidla Out of Power

Today’s MF Dnes leads with this article about the upcoming European Parliament elections, which I’m translating here.

Prague – The second weekend in June will tell much of the future of the Czech government. Friday the 11th and Saturday the 12th of June are the days President Václav Klaus has announced for elections to the European Parliament.

Even though Czechs will be choosing their representatives to the European Union for the first time in history, the elections will in reality strongly influence domestic life. The further existence of the government coalition is at stake.

Opinion polls released yesterday show that neither the [governing left-of-center] Social Democrats or the other coalition parties would fare well. If this were to happen, many dissatisfied Unionists [members of the center-right Freedom Union] would probably seek to exit the current governing coalition. What’s more, stronger opposition to Prime Minister Vladimír Å pidla would emerge within the Social Democrats.

“Nearly 30 percent of people answered that in the elections to the European Parliament they would vote for ODS candidates,” said Naděžda Horáková of the CVVM [polling] agency. The Social Democrats would come in second, but only with 15 percent.

“I believe a successful pre-election campaign will help a lot,” said ČSSD Vice Chairman and Interior Minister Stanislav Gross. The Christian Democrats would get 8 percent, and the other coalition partners, the Unionists, are almost at the bottom, with 1.5 percent of voters. “We don’t have anything to lose. This is a matter of being or not being,” announced Helena Rögnerová, the first candidate from the Freedom Union.

Social Democrat politicians met yesterday afternoon in their Prague headquarters in People’s House behind doors locked airtight, where they met in special session about their election strategy. “We met only about the elections and nothing else,” said Vice Chairman Zdeněk Å kromach as he left the meeting.

For ČSSD, the other results from the surveys don’t bode well either. Younger and more educated voters with a good standard of living are planning to vote – voters who don’t like to vote for leftist parties.

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