Thursday, 4 June 2009

European Parliament elections begin

Today the elections to the European Parliament begin. Britain and the Netherlands vote today, the Czech Republic and Ireland tomorrow, Cyprus, Italy, Latvia, Malta and Slovakia on Saturday and the remaining EU countries on Sunday. Some 375 million people in 27 countries have the right to vote for candidates to the 736 seats of the European Parliament, but participation often being low the authorities in several countries have run campaigns to get people to vote.
In Britain the European Parliament election is held together with the local elections, which seem set to be another disaster for Gordon Brown and his Labour government. While Brown’s government is falling apart day by day, recent polls have shown that Labour risks becoming only the fourth biggest party, falling behind the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and even the United Kingdom Independence Party. Polls have also shown that the openly racist British National Party may perhaps get a seat in the European Parliament, but hopefully this will be avoided.
Also in Sweden there is some chance that either of three small parties of recent origins may make it to Brussels – the right-wing extremists the Sweden Democrats, Feminist Initiative or the Pirate Party, who wants a more liberal policy on file-sharing. The photo shows Feminist Initiative’s top candidate, Gudrun Schyman, campaigning in Gothenburg on Monday. Schyman was formerly the leader of the Left Party, but co-founded FI in 2005. Despite her personal popularity her new party received only 0.68 % of the votes in the Swedish general election in 2006.

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