The Russian spy story continued to reverberate on the campaign trail, as Prime Minister Muscat had to deal with the backlash of ridicule that erupted after his announcement that he had received information from two allied secret services that Russia was behind the Egrant saga. In the morning, the Prime Minister once again reiterated what he had said a day earlier, with much less drama, but he would not be drawn into saying whether he believed the story was true or otherwise. And nobody was expecting him to say yes or no. A “yes” would have brought even more disdain, and open up diplomatic issues, and a “no” would have been an admission that the story was nothing more than an attempt to win some sympathy.
Articles about voting issues in Europe.
Malta: Russian red herring for breakfast – Why would Putin want to elect Simon Busuttil? | The Malta Independent
Yesterday will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the more bizarre days in Maltese electoral history. But before delving into the somewhat murky waters of the Prime Minister’s cloak and dagger, and diplomatically dangerous, assertions about Russia’s nefarious interests in Maltese political affairs one central question needs to be asked: why, exactly would Vladimir Putin want to see Simon Busuttil elected? The fact of the matter is that if asked to choose a preferred leader of Malta, Putin would no doubt prefer a Socialist Prime Minister who has over his tenure consistently looked east and courted and sold state assets to countries such as Azerbaijan and China over a Christian Democrat who believes so wholeheartedly in the European project.
Britain’s anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP) will unveil its policy pledges on Thursday, restarting an election campaign which was suspended after a suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured dozens more in the northern city of Manchester. Britons are due to vote on June 8, with the latest polls, published before Monday’s attack, showing Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives comfortably ahead of the main opposition Labour Party, albeit with a narrowing lead. The two main parties will restart their national campaigns on Friday but UKIP, which was key to securing Britain’s exit from the European Union, said the best response to the attack was to begin as soon as possible.
In 1983, an explosive story appeared in an Indian newspaper, The Patriot: the AIDS virus was the result of American biological weapons research. Two years later a Soviet newspaper picked up the thread: The U.S. Army had developed AIDS as a bioweapon at Fort Detrick, Md. Other publications followed suit and by 1986, an East German biology professor was publishing “research” in which he explained that the virus had been tested on service members used as human guinea pigs — who then began spreading it among vulnerable populations. None of it was true. All of it was fiction created by Russian intelligence officers or their allies. But the storyline — that the U.S. government created AIDS — has proven one of the most durable examples of “dezinformatsiya,” as it was known to its practitioners in the Soviet intelligence world.
United Kingdom: How social media filter bubbles and algorithms influence the election | The Guardian
One of the most powerful players in the British election is also one of the most opaque. With just over two weeks to go until voters go to the polls, there are two things every election expert agrees on: what happens on social media, and Facebook in particular, will have an enormous effect on how the country votes; and no one has any clue how to measure what’s actually happening there. “Many of us wish we could study Facebook,” said Prof Philip Howard, of the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute, “but we can’t, because they really don’t share anything.” Howard is leading a team of researchers studying “computational propaganda” at the university, attempting to shine a light on the ways automated accounts are used to alter debate online.
Albania’s parliament has approved a government shake-up as part of a compromise worked out between political parties before next month’s parliamentary election. The unanimous vote on Monday came after President Bujar Nishani issued decrees naming the opposition’s recommendations for deputy prime minister and six other ministerial posts: interior, education, health, social wellbeing, finance and justice. A three-month opposition boycott of parliament ended last week with an agreement between the governing Socialist Party and the opposition-led Democratic Party that was mediated by U.S. and European Union officials.
Albania’s president has decreed that a parliamentary election that was postponed as part of compromise among political parties will be held on June 25. The election had been scheduled for June 18, but was pushed back as part of the agreement mediated by U.S. and European Union officials. President Bujar Nishani moved the election back one week on Sunday to account for the compromise between the governing Socialist Party and the opposition-led Democratic Party.
It was a few days after the start of the new millennium, and the U.S. Embassy in Moscow was holding a reception at Spaso House, for decades the elegant residence of the American ambassador. Russia’s tumultuous Boris Yeltsin era had come to an abrupt, shocking end on New Year’s Day, when the Russian president who had brought down the Soviet Union and turned his country into a chaotic, fledgling democracy announced his resignation. His successor was the man he had named his prime minister just four months earlier, a man barely known to most Russians, let alone to the outside world: former KGB officer Vladimir Putin. As Jim Collins, a soft-spoken career diplomat who was then the U.S. ambassador to Russia, made the rounds at that reception, querying guests as to what they thought of the dramatic shift atop the Kremlin, the overwhelming sentiment was relief. The Yeltsin era, which had begun with so much promise, had turned into a shambolic, deeply corrupt dystopia.
The Electoral Commission has launched an investigation into “potential offences” by Leave.EU over its spending during last year’s EU referendum campaign. The campaign group, which was headed by Nigel Farage and the businessman Arron Banks, is understood to have worked with the data firm Cambridge Analytica, which uses social media to influence voters. Cambridge Analytica’s involvement was not declared to the election watchdog, which has concluded that Leave.EU has a case to answer. If the commission decides that political spending laws have been breached, it can report the campaign group to the police.
Austria’s main parties agreed to hold an early parliamentary election on October 15, Chancellor Christian Kern said on Tuesday, in a vote that might bring the far-right Freedom Party into government. In the autumn of a year that will have seen Dutch, French, British and German general elections, the Alpine republic will decide its future course on immigration, labor and social policy and its position within the European Union. “We have agreed on Oct. 15 (for parliamentary elections),” Kern said after meeting leaders of all parliamentary parties. The next election was originally due to be held in autumn 2018.