EP elections underway


Czechs began voting in the election to the European Parliament on Friday, the first of two days of the polls are held in the Czech Republic. Fifteen thousand polling stations around the country are open from 2 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday. Thirty-two parties are fielding candidates for the Czech Republic’s 22 seats at the European Parliament. The leaders of the two strongest parties, Mirek Topolánek and Jiří Paroubek, as well as former president Václav Havel have already cast their ballots. The current president Václav Klaus is going to vote on Saturday. The counting of votes begins at 10 p.m. on Sunday, after the final polls have closed elsewhere in Europe. In the last European elections in 2004 turnout in the Czech Republic was 28 percent; some forecasters expect a slightly higher turnout this time.