You’d expect to hear about Salento in a travel blog, inviting you to explore the villages and secluded white sand beaches of this Italian gem. But there’s more to the region than scenery: it’s the home of one of Italy’s first major experiments with e-voting. First, the trivia. Martignano is the one of the region’s smallest towns, situated in an area known as the Grecia Salentina, a language enclave of ten municipalities where griko is spoken, a language originating from ancient greek (Salento was once part of the Magna Grecia). Small yet culturally lively, Martignano still has one of the best broadband infrastructures in Italy. Melpignano is another town in the Grecia Salentina, and also uses griko. Onto the politics: smaller towns and municipalities in Italy have recently been asked to cast their votes as part of an “advisory referendum” on the question of whether to join up with other towns with up to 5,000 citizens. It’s a part of an ongoing countrywide bid to try to reduce public spending by cutting the number of small municipalities and provinces and the amount of administration that goes with them.
Articles about voting issues in Europe.
A court this morning decided that the Attorney General should be a party in a case instituted by the Nationalist Party where it demanded a recount of the votes cast in the eighth and thirteen districts in the general election. Justice Jacqueline Padovani said the Attorney General should be a party in the case to safeguard state interests. The PN had argued that the Attorney General should not be involved while the Electoral Commission requested that the AG be called into the proceedings.
Russian authorities have finally found a case of alleged voting fraud that they can get really incensed about. No, it’s not the 2011 Duma elections, which experts from across Russia’s political spectrum now agree were probably falsified on a huge scale. That has never been the subject of official outrage, or even investigation. This is something far more important: the continental song competition, Eurovision. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists yesterday that he was “outraged” to learn that the voting system in neighboring Azerbaijan had eliminated the votes cast for Russian Eurovision contestant Dina Garipova in that country. Voters registering their preferences by cellphone had given a second-place finish to Ms. Garipova – which should have given her 10 points in the overall contest – but they had somehow disappeared in the reporting process.
President Vladimir Putin has spoken against initiatives aimed at limiting the participation of new, small, political parties in Russia’s federal elections. “I don’t want to introduce any regulations that would restrict citizens’ access to ruling the country,” Putin stated at the meeting with the leaders of Russian parliamentary factions on Wednesday. During the gathering, the leaders of the Communist and Liberal-Democrat parties suggested that additional requirements should be met by political parties taking part in State Duma and presidential elections.
Bulgaria: Elections competitive and well run, but trust in process is lacking, international observers say | Panorama
Bulgaria’s early parliamentary elections on 12 May were held in a competitive environment, fundamental freedoms were respected, and the administration of elections was well managed, although the campaign was overshadowed by a number of incidents that diminished trust in state institutions and the process was negatively affected by pervasive allegations of vote-buying, international observers said in a statement today, according to the OSCE PA. The campaign was competitive and generally free of violence, and the caretaker government undertook several measures to hold genuine elections. Cases of pre-election wiretapping and concerns over last-minute incidents related to ballot security, however, weakened public confidence in the process. The campaign was at times negative, with some parties using inflammatory and xenophobic rhetoric. Allegations of vote-buying continued, negatively affecting the campaign environment, the international observers noted.
Lyutvi Mestan, Chair of the Bulgarian ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), has vowed to appeal the fine he was imposed by the local election administration in Sliven for addressing his constituents in Turkish. The fine was imposed Friday by the Regional Electoral Commission in the southeastern city of Sliven on a tip-off from center-right party GERB reporting that Mestan had addressed voters in Turkish during an election campaign rally in the village of Yablanovo on May 5. Yablanovo Mayor Dzhemal Choban was also penalized by the Regional Electoral Commission in Sliven for addressing voters in Turkish during the same rally. Bulgaria’s Election Code does not allow election campaigns to be conducted in other languages than Bulgarian.
Mass protests in Bulgaria against austerity measures and energy costs forced out the government in February. Elections set for Sunday could lead to more political turmoil. Recent public-opinion surveys indicate that the conservative party that led the previous administration and its main, left-leaning challenger are running neck-and-neck, complicating prospects for the formation of a governing coalition. Unhappiness with low living standards and perceived corruption in the European Union’s poorest member state boiled over this past winter, leading to nationwide demonstrations, initially over rising electricity prices.
A British expat who took a test case to the European Court of Human Rights to try to secure the right to vote in UK general elections has lost the case. Harry Shindler, 93, has lived in Italy since he retired from the army in 1982 argued that he should be allowed to vote in UK elections as he still has strong ties to the country. Currently anyone who has lived abroad for more than 15 years cannot vote in a general election in the UK but Shindler claimed that this breached his human rights. However, the court rules that it is entirely appropriate for the UK to have such conditions and said that there should always be ‘room for manoeuvre’ over eligibility for voting rights. It is an issue that is estimated to affect around a million British expats. The rules mean that expats can vote only in for general elections for a certain time but they can vote if they move back to the UK.
Bulgaria: Parallel ballot counting results of Austrian company to be different from those of CEC, says expert | FOCUS
“The Austrian company hired to make a parallel vote counting will naturally give results that are different from those of the Bulgarian Central Electoral Commission (CEC),” said mathematician Professor Mihail Konstantinov with the Information Service, speaking in an interview with the morning programme of bTV. “The protocols of the Sectional Electoral Commission have technical mistakes, which are later on corrected by the Regional Electoral Commission. The Austrian company will work with the uncorrected documents, like the sectional protocol. During the procedure, this sectional protocol is corrected by the Central Electoral Commission, but on a different level.
Not content with serving as a catalyst for the global financial crisis, Iceland has elected three members of the Pirate Party to its national Parliament. Iceland’s Alþingi (“Althing” in English) is a single-chambered parliament that has met since the tenth century and says it is the world’s oldest such legislature. The nation is divided into six constituencies, each of which elects nine representatives. Constituencies with larger populations also have one or two “levelling seats” to ensure the value of a vote remains constant across the nation. Proportional representation is used to elect candidates.