Czechs have been showing up in unusually high numbers to vote in a two—day general election amid discontent with established political parties and fears of Greek—style state debt during an economic slowdown, officials said on Saturday.
“People are fed up. Each vote could help,” said Ivan Baloun, 56, a professional driver from Prague. He said he cast his ballot for one of the new parties running for parliament, as the existing ones have disappointed him.
Turnout appeared higher than usual, with a half of voters casting their ballot on Friday, the Czech news agency CTK reported after surveying polling stations across the country.
Members of election committees in Prague confirmed the unusually high numbers to the German Press Agency dpa, as voters continued to stream in on Saturday.
“Some buildings in my district voted completely. Only one person is missing,” said one commissioner, who declined to give her name as she is not allowed to speak to the press before the voting ends.
Her colleague said that voters were crowding in front of the polling stations before they opened on Friday. “They were standing in lines, which had never happened before,” she said.
They estimated that the turnout could be as high as 70 per cent.
Czechs are electing their new parliament after their country has been ruled by a caretaker cabinet run by Prime Minister Jan Fischer for more than a year.
During the lengthy and abrasive campaign, parties fought over who would best lead the country to an economic revival and tighter budget gaps.
New parties are set to enter parliament capitalizing on voters’ frustrations with the big parties, which are stained by corruption scandals.
The two days of voting are set to end at 2 pm (1200 GMT). An exit poll by Czech Television, the country’s public broadcaster, is to be released at around the same time.