Final Word from Friday, June 11, 2004

The Špidla government's biggest failure in the EU election campaign has been its inability to make the elections about Europe. Czech voters who go to the polls today and tomorrow will vote mainly about domestic issues. This wouldn't matter much if Czechs were happy with their government and gave it high marks at the polls. In this case, no one would bother about why people voted the way they did. The general level of dissatisfaction, though, means the coalition parties will likely suffer a serious blow that can't be compartmentalized as being due to the draft constitution or other EU issues. Premier Vladimír Špidla told Právo that he "can't remember a single case in Western Europe where a loss by a government party in EU elections shook the government." By all accounts, Špidla has underestimated the importance of the EU elections and will pay for his mistake.


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