Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic on Monday set Oct. 16 for parliamentary elections regarded as crucial for his country’s aspirations to join the European Union and NATO. The smallest of the former Yugoslav republics, Montenegro opened accession talks with the European Union in 2011 and was invited to join NATO in December. But to progress on both fronts, it needs to step up the fight against corruption and show its electoral process is transparent and fair.Full Article: Montenegro president calls October vote, key to EU-NATO hopes | Reuters.
United Kingdom: Brexit Regret: Will There Be A New Referendum Vote? Huge Online Petition For New Vote ‘Hijacked’ By ‘Remain’ Supporters | International Business Times
An online petition asking for a second British referendum on whether to leave the European Union had collected 3.89 million signatures by Monday evening. But the petition submitted to Parliament didn’t go up recently, nor was it created by a supporter of the U.K.’s membership in the EU. Instead, the petition was created in November by a Brexit supporter, but interest has spiked since Thursday’s narrow victory for the “leave” camp. The losing side in the vote suddenly took renewed notice. Now, the petition, the largest ever submitted to Parliament’s website, has far more signatures than the 100,000 needed to require MPs to consider the demand. By comparison, another popular parliamentary petition to block U.S. presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump from entering the U.K. garnered about 586,000 signatures.Full Article: Brexit Regret: Will There Be A New Referendum Vote? Huge Online Petition For New Vote ‘Hijacked’ By ‘Remain’ Supporters.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her government started work on legislation for a new referendum on independence after the U.K. as a whole decided to quit the European Union while Scotland voted to remain. Speaking after an emergency meeting of her cabinet in Edinburgh on Saturday, Sturgeon said she will also be seeking talks with European leaders and the institutions of the EU about ways of continuing Scotland’s relationship with the bloc. The semi-autonomous government will appoint a panel of advisers in coming weeks and convene a meeting of consuls from EU member states. “A second independence referendum is clearly an option that requires to be on the table, and it is very much on the table; to ensure that option is a deliverable one in the required timetable, steps will be taken now to ensure the necessary legislation is in place,” Sturgeon said in a televised statement outside her official Bute House residence. “We are determined to act decisively, but in a way that builds unity across Scotland about the way forward.”Full Article: Scotland Starts Toward Independence Vote to Keep EU Ties - Bloomberg.
Editorials: Brexit, “Regrexit,” and the impact of political ignorance | Ilya Somin/The Washington Post
Since last week’s Brexit vote, new evidence has emerged suggesting that the result many have been influenced by widespread political ignorance. In the immediate aftermath of the vote, there was a massive spike in internet searches in Britain asking questions like “What is the EU?” and “What does it mean to leave the EU?” Obviously, reasonably well-informed voters should have known the answers to these questions before they went to the polls instead of after. The aftermath of Brexit has also spawned the so-called “Regrexit” phenomenon: Britons who voted for Brexit, but now regret doing so because they feel they were misinformed about the likely consequences, or did not consider them carefully enough. A petition on the British Parliament website calling for a revote has collected over 3.4 million signatures (Parliament is required to consider any petition that gets over 100,000 signatures, though it does not have to grant it).Full Article: Brexit, “Regrexit,” and the impact of political ignorance [updated with brief comment on post-referendum survey data] - The Washington Post.
Editorials: Brexit: a journey into the unknown for a country never before so divided | Andrew Rawnsley/The Guardian
In the speech announcing his resignation, David Cameron included a list of the things he was proud to have done as prime minister. I suspect you glazed over at that point. So will future biographers of his premiership. He has just become one of those leaders who will be remembered for a single enormous mistake. Neville Chamberlain had achievements to his name before appeasement. There was more to Anthony Eden than the Suez debacle. Lord North had a career before he lost America. But each of those premiers is defined by their one towering disaster. So it will be with David Cameron, the prime minister who accidentally ruptured more than four decades of his country’s economic, security and foreign policy by losing the referendum on Europe. That will be the inscription etched deep on his tombstone. He staked his reputation and gambled his country’s place in the world on a referendum for which his party ached but the public hardly clamoured. He timed the vote and chose a moment that has proved to be a calamity for the cause to which he became a belated, and thus not very convincing, champion. He destroyed his premiership because he misjudged the politics and mishandled his enemies. The man who arrived as leader of his party pledging to purge its obsession with “banging on about Europe” has blown himself up over Europe. And potentially much else besides. With Nicola Sturgeon seizing on the perfect rationale for another attempt to gain independence for Scotland, he may also be remembered as the man who unravelled the United Kingdom, achieving the double whammy of expelling his country from one union and breaking an even older one.Full Article: Brexit: a journey into the unknown for a country never before so divided | Opinion | The Guardian.
If Marine Le Pen is elected in France’s presidential elections next year, would she organize a “Frexit”? The leader of the far-right National Front party has used the term before, and she has made it abundantly clear that she thinks the European Union has been a “complete disaster,” as she put it in a speech in Vienna last week. The European Union is one of the most frequent targets of her scorn, depicted as a faceless bureaucracy bent on erasing the French nation in all of its individuality. “France has perhaps a thousand more reasons to leave the E.U. than the English,” she was quoted as saying during a gathering in the Austrian capital of representatives of far-right parties.Full Article: Far-Right Party in France Also Dreams of an Exit | Far-Right Party in France Also Dreams of an Exit.
United Kingdom: David Cameron to Resign After Losing His Big ‘Brexit’ Gamble in EU Referendum | Wall Street Journal
Scarcely a year after a triumphant general-election victory, British Prime Minister David Cameron is already on his way out of office following an epic miscalculation that on Thursday resulted in U.K. voters opting to leave the European Union. Mr. Cameron said Friday morning that he would step down as prime minister within a few months, a consequence of the U.K.’s historic referendum on whether to remain in the EU. Mr. Cameron in effect became collateral damage in a battle he himself launched by promising he would offer the public a vote on the Europe issue if his Conservative Party won the 2015 general election. The referendum’s outcome—nearly 52% of voters cast ballots to leave the EU—instantly reverses the legacy of a man who first became prime minister in 2010 as the leader of a coalition government.Full Article: David Cameron to Resign After Losing His Big ‘Brexit’ Gamble in EU Referendum - WSJ.
World stocks headed for one the biggest slumps on record on Friday as a decision by Britain to leave the European Union triggered 8 percent falls for Europe’s biggest bourses and a record plunge for sterling. Such a body blow to global confidence could well prevent the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates as planned this year, and might even provoke a new round of emergency policy easing from all the major central banks. Risk assets were scorched as investors fled to the traditional safe-harbors of top-rated government debt, Japanese yen and gold. Billions were wiped from share values as Europe saw London’s FTSE .FTSE drop 6 percent in early deals, Germany’s .DAX and France’s CAC 40 .FCHI slump 7.5 and 9 percent and Italian and Spanish markets plunge more than 11 percent.Full Article: World stocks in freefall as UK votes for EU exit | Reuters.
Editorials: Brexit earthquake has happened, and the rubble will take years to clear | Rafael Behr/The Guardian
There is a difference between measuring the height of a drop and the sensation of falling; between the sight of a wave and hearing it crash on to the shore; between the knowledge of what fire can do and feeling the heat as the flames catch. The theoretical possibility that Britain might leave the European Union, nominally the only question under consideration on the ballot paper, turns out to prefigure nothing of the shock when the country actually votes to do it. Politics as practised for a generation is upended; traditional party allegiances are shredded; the prime minister’s authority is bust – and that is just the parochial domestic fallout. A whole continent looks on in trepidation. It was meant to be unthinkable, now the thought has become action. Europe cannot be the same again. The signs were always there, even if the opinion polls nudged Remainers towards false optimism at the very end of the campaign. Brexit had taken the lead at times and always hovered in the margin of error. But the statistical probability of an earthquake doesn’t describe the disorienting feeling of the ground lurching violently beneath your feet.Full Article: Brexit earthquake has happened, and the rubble will take years to clear | Politics | The Guardian.
If the most recent polls are to be believed (and as we all know, that’s a very big “if”), the result of the EU referendum is likely to be very close. But what happens if it’s a dead heat? Statistically this is of course highly unlikely, but it’s not impossible. It’s more plausible that the difference between the two camps is just a handful of votes. The question is: how close would the result have to be to trigger a recount? There is, perhaps surprisingly, no simple answer to this question. The general rules of the game are set out in the EU Referendum Act 2015, and there are specific regulations for conducting the poll. As for all elections in the UK, counting officers are responsible for the votes cast in their voting area and specific guidance rules for this referendum have also been published by the Electoral Commission.Full Article: EU referendum: what if it's a tie?.
On June 23rd Britons will head to the polls to answer a simple question they have not been asked since 1975: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” If the answer is “remain”, Britain will continue to integrate with the EU’s 27 other countries. If it chooses to “leave”, the Kingdom may split apart and begin to drift gently into mid-Atlantic obscurity. “Remain” has led in the polls for almost the entirety of the campaign. In early June the “leave” side surged, and briefly appeared to have taken a decisive lead. But the tragic murder on June 16th of Jo Cox, a pro-EU member of Parliament, may have helped swing the polls again in recent days. On the surface, this has restored a narrow edge for “remain”. However, the share of people saying they intend to vote for “remain” has not actually increased. Instead, a sliver of the electorate has simply switched from “leave” to “don’t know”. With just one or two percentage points splitting the two sides, the outcome will depend largely on the 10-15% of voters who say they are still undecided.Full Article: Britain’s EU referendum: Hoping that demography is not destiny | The Economist.
Editorials: The polls called last year’s election wrong. Will they get the referendum right? | Peter Kellner/The Guardian
As the referendum results flow in, the pollsters will be as nervous as the Brexit and remain campaigns. Having worked hard to scrape the egg of their faces after last year’s general election, they would hate having to do the same again. As things stand, some pollsters seem certain to be more embarrassed than others. A year ago, their final headline figures were much the same; they were all wrong together. (The experience was especially painful for me, as the then-president of YouGov. On the night, other pollsters could grieve in private. I had to sit for 10 hours in the BBC studio, pretending to stay calm.) This time there have been big variations, both between individual surveys by the same companies and, on average, between polls conducted online and those conducted by telephone. Monday night was typical – the ORB/Telegraph phone poll showed remain 7% ahead, while the YouGov/Times online poll reported a 2% leave lead. If that difference persists in the final polls, somebody is bound to have awkward questions to answer.Full Article: The polls called last year’s election wrong. Will they get the referendum right? | Peter Kellner | Opinion | The Guardian.
United Kingdom: What is Brexit and why does it matter? The EU referendum guide for Americans | The Guardian
On Greek holiday beaches and in remote but pretty French villages this summer British visitors have faced similar questions from anxious fellow citizens of the European Union. A month ago it was: “Your referendum, it will be OK, yes?” But a run of opinion polls showing the campaign to leave ahead of opponents who want to stay in by up to 10%, has forced a change of tone as the 23 June ballot looms. The more reproachful version has become: “Why are you doing this to us?” Washington’s Capitol Hill legend, Tip O’Neill, once said “all politics is local”. True enough, but rarely the whole truth. The campaign for Brexit – British exit – feeds on decades-old, homegrown resentments. Real or imagined, they include nostalgia for imperial certainties and for pre-globalised jobs for life, plus resentment of immigrants and of rules imposed by “unelected” courts and commissions in Brussels. Such are the demons said to restrain national “sovereignty” or (for some) free market spirits. “ Take back control” is Brexit’s catch-all slogan, designed to appeal to both social isolationists and blue-water buccaneers. Does that sound familiar? It may well do to jobless Portuguese teenagers, unemployed blue-collar workers in the American Rust Belt and hedge fund managers chafing at “over-regulation”. The visitor to Greece or rural France tries to tell questioners: “It’s bit like Syriza or Golden Dawn,” rival populist insurgencies challenging the status quo in Athens. Or “it’s a bit like your Marine Le Pen or America’s Trump. A lot of people are angry. Some have much to be cross about.”Full Article: What is Brexit and why does it matter? The EU referendum guide for Americans | Politics | The Guardian.
United Kingdom: Brexit Vote: U.K. Extends Voter Registration Deadline for EU Referendum | Wall Street Journal
U.K. lawmakers approved emergency legislation allowing more people to register to vote in the referendum on Britain’s continued membership of the European Union, prompting anger among some “leave” campaigners who said it would favor those lobbying to remain. A last-minute rush by those wishing to register to vote ahead of the initial deadline of midnight Tuesday caused the government’s website to crash, leaving some unable to access the system. Prime Minister David Cameron, who is leading the push to persuade voters to stay in the EU, said he wanted those people to have the opportunity to take part in the June 23 plebiscite. The government subsequently introduced legislation to extend the deadline to midnight on Thursday, which was passed by lawmakers in parliament earlier in the day.Full Article: Brexit Vote: U.K. Extends Voter Registration Deadline for EU Referendum - WSJ.
Polling cards were sent to 3,462 people who are not eligible to vote in the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union, according to the Electoral Commission. The figure could rise further because six local authorities are yet to confirm if they have been affected by the blunder. Any postal votes that have been wrongly issued will be cancelled and names will be removed from electoral registers used at polling stations on 23 June, the watchdog said. A problem with elections software used by a number of local authorities in England and Wales meant some non-eligible EU citizens were wrongly sent poll cards. Senior leave campaigners Iain Duncan Smith and Bernard Jenkin wrote to the commission on Thursday expressing “serious concerns about the conduct of the European Union referendum and its franchise”.Full Article: EU referendum polling cards wrongly sent to 3,462 people | Politics | The Guardian.
Some EU nationals have been wrongly sent postal votes and polling cards for the UK’s referendum because of a “systems issue”, the Electoral Commission has said. The mistake means a number of EU nationals will have their votes cancelled and receive letters explaining they are not eligible to take part in the 23 June poll on British membership of the EU after all. The Electoral Commission said a “small number” of people were affected but it could not yet confirm exactly how many. The problem emerged when Iain Duncan Smith, a leading Brexit campaigner and former work and pensions secretary, complained to the Electoral Commission and David Cameron that he was hearing worrying reports from a number of sources about EU nationals receiving polling cards.Full Article: Referendum voting papers sent to some EU nationals by mistake | Politics | The Guardian.
United Kingdom: Thousands of British expats excluded from voting in the EU referendum | The Conversation UK
A decision by judges in the Supreme Court has finally put an end to the legal challenge of two British citizens claiming to have been unfairly excluded from voting in the EU referendum. They were campaigning against the law which disenfranchises people who have lived outside the UK for 15 years or more. Lawyers for Harry Shindler MBE, a war veteran living in Italy, and Jaquelyn MacLennan, a lawyer resident in Belgium, pursued their claim that the EU Referendum Act (Section 2) is incompatible with EU law. They argued that it “restricts their directly effective EU law rights of freedom of movement” and acts as a penalty for exercising this right. Following hearings in the High Court and the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, the UK’s final court of appeal, endorsed the lower courts’ rejection of the claim. It ruled that, even if EU law did apply (and there was disagreement between the courts over this point), there had not been any “interference” with the claimants’ right of free movement – which was the basis of the case.Full Article: Thousands of British expats excluded from voting in the EU referendum.
The government calls it an individual investment programme intended to attract to Malta people with talent and money to invest. The more down to earth deem it a sale of Maltese/European passports and information tabled in Parliament indicates that is just what the IIP actually is: a sale. Over 80 per cent of the 143 successful applicants so far have signed five-year rent contracts rather than opting to buy a property in Malta. The implication is that they have no intention of settling here permanently, if at all. Chris Kalin, president of Henley & Partners, which runs the programme, was more succinct when he said that many of his clients were only interested in getting a Maltese passport rather than living here. In other words, they want a passport to Europe. The IIP scheme, which had not been included in the Labour Party electoral programme, was controversial from the start and amended several times along the way until a settlement was reached with the European Union.Full Article: Buy a passport, get your vote free - timesofmalta.com.
An EU referendum voting guidance leaflet has been withdrawn after complaints it could influence voters’ decisions on 23 June. Graphic instructions on how to vote included in material sent out with postal votes in Bristol showed a pen hovering over the remain box. It was attacked as unfair by Brexit campaigners – who said similar pictures had been reported in other parts of the country as ballot papers begin to arrive. The Electoral Commission said while the graphic was unlikely to sway voters, it “clearly shouldn’t have been used” in that form. A spokeswoman said the commission had acted to ensure the leaflet was replaced by Bristol city council and was investigating whether the issue was more widespread.Full Article: Council withdraws EU referendum leaflet over 'unfair' remain graphic | Politics | The Guardian.
Britons who have lived abroad for more than 15 years will not be allowed to vote in the EU referendum, the supreme court has ruled. The highest court in the country upheld earlier rulings of the high court and court of appeal against Harry Shindler and Jacquelyn MacLennan, who were challenging the law. The ruling confirms the decision that the UK’s voting regulations do not unlawfully interfere with the right of freedom of movement within the European Union and that the government is entitled to set an arbitrary time limit on residence. Delivering the ruling, Lady Hale, deputy president of the supreme court, said: “The question is not whether this particular voting exclusion is justifiable as a proportionate means of pursuing a legitimate aim. The question is whether EU law applies.”Full Article: British emigrants lose supreme court EU referendum vote bid | Politics | The Guardian.