Czechs field 40 groups for European elections

The country will fill 21 seats in the European Parliament in Brussels

Some 40 groups have submitted lists of candidates to the Czech Interior Ministry for the upcoming elections to European Parliament.

The legal deadline for filing has passed, but if a filing was made before the deadline but not yet received at the ministry’s main office, the number could increase.

The elections will take place across the Czech Republic on May 24–25, and citizens from other EU countries living in Prague can vote if they register in advance with their local authorities.

The Interior Ministry will review the list of candidates by March 25, 2019. If the list of candidates is not filed in accordance with the law or if it does not contain the required elements or contains incorrect information, the ministry will allow the candidate's representative to fix the defects by April 4, 2019 at the latest.

By April 6, 2019 at the latest, the Interior Ministry will decide on the registration of the lists. On April 8, the State Election Commission will draw numbers to mark the order of the groups on the ballots.

The previous elections for European Parliament were five years ago, with 41 groups seeking seats. This time, voters will again pick 21 representatives for the country.

Currently the European Parliament has 751 seats, but this will drop to 705 if Britain exits the EU. Some seats will be reallocated, but the Czech Republic will not see a change.

This time, TOP 09 and Mayors and Independents (STAN) will be running together jointly in a coalition. New political groups running for the first time include Evropa společně (ESO), run by MEP Jaromír Štětina, and Hlas, run by MEP Pavel Telička.

Several small parties or political movement are organized around a single issue, such as rejecting the euro currency, limiting EU power or restricting immigration.

A public opinion poll by agency CVVM released at the start March showed that ANO had the most support, at 26 percent, followed by the Civic Democrats (ODS) at 16 percent, the Pirates at 11.5 percent, Communists (KSČM) at 8 percent, Social Democrats (ČSSD) at 7.5 percent and the TOP 09–STAN coalition at 7.5 percent. Other parties had less than 5 percent, and the number of undecided people was 14.5 percent.

These results are merely a slight indication, as specific candidates have not been named yet and no campaigning on issues has taken place.

Voter turnout is expects to be low, with 48 percent already saying they are unlikely to vote, and 42 percent planning to vote.

In 2014, only 18.2 percent of people voted in the EU elections. While turnout may be higher this time, analysts do not expect it to reach 42 percent and say 28 percent is more likely.

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