Czechs "need some sort of 'Big Brother' but one that is better than the old one"

12-06-2004

Although the European Parliamentary elections don't seem to have generated much interest among the Czech electorate, Radio Prague went to a polling booth in the Czech capital to ask those who did turn out why they thought it was important to vote.

Photo: CTKPhoto: CTK Why are you voting today?

"It's important to have a say in what sort of people are going to be in the European Parliament."

Are you disappointed that so few people seem to have turned out?

"Well ... c'est la vie!"

What do you hope your candidate will do for you in the European Parliament?

"I hope he or she will do their best, but you know how it goes..."

Do you think the EU is an opportunity or a threat? Are you worried about Czech sovereignty?

"I think it's the best way for us to go"

Why?

"Well, considering our past I think that we need some sort of 'Big Brother' but one that is better than what we used to have..."

Have you voted today?

Photo: CTKPhoto: CTK "Yes I have"

Are you disappointed that so few Czechs have come out to vote?

"Yes, I am"

Why do you think the election turnout is so low?

"Because there are too many stupid people around"

Can you tell me why you are voting today?

"Because I want to finish our government and to end the rule of Mr Spidla and his gang, and this is one way of doing it. It's a good way of showing then that we want to vote for parties other than theirs"

But are these elections not about European as opposed to national politics?

Photo: CTKPhoto: CTK "Europe is not as important to me as our nation is. I am treating this election as a referendum for our country."

What would you like the person you are going to vote for to do for the Czech Republic?

"Just to be able to influence how things are managed and to have a say in how we present ourselves in the EU, because we were once one of the most important countries in Europe. This position in Europe has been lost, but I think we can gain it again."

There are some people saying that the Czech Republic will lose its sovereignty in the EU?

"I think it will actually be better. We are a small country so we can never play a leading role. But [in the EU] we can play a significant role, which is more important than the one we play today."

Why have you turned out to vote today?

"Well, I'm not interested in politics, but I still think it's better to vote than not to vote, because I think it's important how we present ourselves in Europe."

Can you tell me what you would like the person you vote for to do for you and the Czech Republic?

"Well, I don't mind if he or she just sits there and watches how the others do it, so that they can then bring some good European political habits back here."

Are you fearful or optimistic about the Czech Republic's membership of the European Union - a lot of Czechs think they might get swallowed up?

"I'm optimistic. I think it's the best thing that could have happened to us."

Why?

"Because we are now part of the real world. In 1989, nobody would have dreamt that we would one day join this "community of states". Now we are inside and we can even make decisions about Europe together with all the others."

12-06-2004