So the European Commission is asking The Netherlands for ‘clarification’ of why results from Thursday’s EP poll there have been released already. Supposedly results are only allowed to be released once the polls have closed all over Europe – Sunday evening. I’ve been debating this on Twitter with @julienfrish, @kierancotty, @davidcochrane and @MickFealty. With Geert Wilders being the big recipient of anti-everything sentiment in the Dutch poll, the last thing anyone needs is the Commission grumbling that the Dutch didn’t respect the rules. What about the Irish too, as results are trickling out today at the Irish Election website? The UK is rather different – polls were on Thursday, but people care so little about the EP elections that little information has trickled out, and Brown has used the lull to try to re-assert a little authority over his cabinet.
So what should happen with all of this? First of all the EP elections over 4 days is silly. OK, national traditions, bla, bla, but could we not have the polls open on Saturday and Sunday in all European countries? The Commission grumbling at The Netherlands looks quite cantankerous when the institutions and the Member States have not managed to make some order out of this mess of election days.
Secondly, why does the Commission send out some anonymous spokesperson to say these sorts of things? Plays right into the hands of people sceptical about the institutions. Someone with a little political nous should do it… which would of course be helped if the Commissioners themselves had more political nous, and some more leadership from the top.
And everyone wonders why the population is frustrated by the EU…
Little information has trickled out in the UK because, uniquely and disgracefully, until the close of the last EU poll on Sunday night it is an imprisonable offence here for anyone to publish any forecast or estimate that “might reasonably be taken to be … based on information given by voters after they have voted”.
But you knew that.
Not much hope of a uniform election procedure, when the member states have made it depend on a unanimous Council decision (Article 190 TEC).
I am a little split on the publication of the results. On the one hand, there are agreed rules, but on the other hand it feels like we were living in one of the less developed parts of the world, were people have to wait for the count.
I completely agree with you.
The Commission continues to have little grasp of PR – it might be relevant if there was a truly pan-European campaign, but it’s just not the case.
I’m not completely sure on the Irish count front though – my impression was that the polls were extremely sketchy and based on patchy exit polls when it comes to the European results, with vote counting not starting until 9am tomorrow. The local election and by-election polls are more accurate and the counting today will give some indication of the general swing between the parties.