Prague - The European parliament elections are kicking off today in Ireland and the Czech Republic, the two countries from which strong anti-European voices have been heard in the past few months.
While some predict the Irish voters may be boosted to go to the ballot to express their disagreement with the ruling Fianna Fail party, apathy could prove to prevail among Czech voters.
While euro-skeptic Czech president Václav Klaus has recently labeled the EP elections as "unecessary", Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Jan Kohout called on the voters to participate in the euro-elections.
"I remember elections in former Czechoslovakia that were far from free elections. Since that time I have respected all kinds of elections that can change things and I consider the European Parliament balloting as such elections," Kohout said in an interview with CTK press agency, refusing to comment on Klaus' remark.
Meanwhile, Czech Cardinal Miloslav Vlk has also appealed to Czech voters to go to vote but not for those who were behind the government's fall in mid-March.
"It was irresponsible of them to do that and they should not be represented in the European Parliament," Vlk says at his web site cardinal.cz.
"With the European elections coming, the European topic is on my mind, too," Vlk confesses his thoughts in his appeal. "Unfortunately, this topic has been long-term discredited by some of our top representatives," he says futher on, referring to president Klaus and other vocal euro-skeptics in the country.
The predictions of low turn-out continent-wide show that voters regard MEPs as not relating to their daily lives, overpaid and with low performance.
The parliamentary balloting started on Thursday in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, continuing over the weekend in the rest of the 27-bloc countries.
Czech voters can cast their ballot on Friday June 5 from 2 pm - 10 pm and Saturday June 6 from 8 am to 2 pm.