Final Word from Saturday, June 14, 2003

Czech voters said a solid Yes to EU accession, although critics point out that the 77% Yes vote and 55% turnout mean that only 42% of voters gave their consent. The results are being seen as a strong victory for Premier Vladimír Špidla and Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda. The opposition will now need to find another reason (public-finance reform?) to bring down the government. Three interesting questions remain. First, what effect will the referendum have on Václav Klaus' popularity? He was decidedly lukewarm on EU accession. Second, will the results strengthen Svoboda's chances of becoming the EU commissioner? He says he could imagine Amb. to the EU Pavel Telička in the job, but this is probably just positioning. Third, was it because of luck or science that the opinion polls finally got it right this time? Perhaps they, too, are ready for Europe.


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