An amendment that would have given long term British expats the ability to vote in the UK’s referendum on the country’s future in the European Union has been defeated. Currently expats who have lived abroad for more than 15 years cannot vote in British elections, but there has been a major campaign for them to vote in the referendum based on the argument that it affects expats as well as those living in the country. A number of members of the House of Lords, the upper house in the British parliament, presented an amendment to allow them to vote but it has been defeated by 214 to 116 votes and there is currently no other move to change the voting system. The upcoming Votes for Life bill will overturn the law that bans those who have lived abroad for longer than 15 years from voting, but it will not be passed before the referendum, which must take part by 2017.
Croatia’s conservative opposition won the country’s first election since it joined the European Union in 2013, according to preliminary results on Sunday, but its narrow victory mean lengthy coalition talks are likely to follow in the next days or weeks. The new government will have to nurture a tentative economic recovery after six years of recession and deal with thousands of migrants from the Middle East streaming through the tiny Adriatic state on their way to western and northern Europe. “We estimate we will have around 10 seats more than the SDP. We will talk to all those who want changes in Croatia,” said Gordan Jandrokovic, Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) senior official and former foreign minister.
Croatians vote in a general election Sunday as the nation faces an ongoing influx of refugees — a crisis that rival political camps have tried to exploit, while lacking concrete policy pledges to kickstart the sluggish economy. After four years of a centre-left coalition government and six years of recession, the right-wing opposition is bidding to return to power in the country’s first general elections since joining the European Union in 2013. Polls show the conservative Patriotic Coalition led by the HDZ party just ahead, but its comfortable lead has been erased in recent months by the ruling Croatia Is Growing alliance led by the Social Democrats (SDP) and Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic. Some say the arrival since mid-September of more than 300,000 migrants headed for northern Europe has provided a welcome diversion for Milanovic after a disappointing term in which he failed to implement much hoped-for reforms.
Jezowe, a five-hour bus ride from Warsaw, is officially designated an agricultural village. But it is one where the agriculture now tends to take place elsewhere. Jezowe’s fields lie mostly fallow; its workers now seek higher-paid jobs in wealthier European Union countries, harvesting grapes in France and cabbages in Germany. Among the village’s weathered wooden houses stand gaudy villas, paid for with euros earned abroad. “Disneyland,” says one resident, pointing to the turrets and gilded fences. The town’s public buildings, too, have been spruced up, mainly with injections of EU cash. A grant of 525,000 zloty ($140,000) paid for the renovation of the old parsonage, which now houses a museum devoted to carved figurines of Christ. In short, Jezowe has done well by the EU. Yet the village has long backed the right-wing Law and Justice party (PiS), a mildly Eurosceptic and socially conservative party that has been in opposition since 2007. The PiS candidate for president, Andrzej Duda, took a startling 92% of the vote here in an election in May; nationwide, he won with a more modest 52%.
Ireland is out of step with the majority of democratic countries in disenfranchising citizens once they move abroad, the Votes for Irish Citizens Abroad (VICA) campaign said on Wednesday. The comment came ahead of a Dáil debate on Friday on a report by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Union Affairs, published last November, that recommended Irish emigrants be granted the right to vote. This followed criticism from the European Commission, which said Ireland was disenfranchising its citizens living in other EU member states by not providing them with voting rights.
Swiss voters will go to the polls on Sunday in a parliamentary election dominated by immigration and asylum concerns that could eventually lead to a shakeup of the multi-party government. In the wake of a controversial 2014 referendum to clamp down on newcomers from the neighboring European Union and with the continent now facing its biggest refugee crisis since the end of World War II, voters are likely to reward parties to the “right,” according to a poll for Swiss broadcaster SRG. Migration concerns are set to even dwarf worries about the economy, which has narrowly skirted a recession brought on by the strong currency.
Guinea started counting votes in Sunday’s presidential election, which the opposition has said was marred by irregularities. European Union observers said there were some delays opening polling stations. Overall, though, the voting progressed in a credible way, Frank Engel, the European Union’s chief observer, told reporters on Sunday. The opposition said on Saturday it would probably refuse to accept the results. The first tally of votes will be released as early as Thursday, the electoral commission said. Voting was extended by two hours to accommodate voters at precincts that opened late. Guinea is the world’s largest exporter of bauxite. “The electoral commission probably was less ready than what it asserted,” Engel said. “I have the impression at this moment that what we saw, observed and which was indicated to us does not smear the regularity of the vote.”
The European Union has deployed 30 long-term election observers to join its core team already in Myanmar to monitor the country’s upcoming general election scheduled for Nov. 8, an official report said Monday. The long-term observers will cover all regions, states and territories in both urban and rural areas and will observe the entire electoral process prior, during and after the election. They will be also joined by another 62 short-term observers and a delegation of the European Parliament shortly before the election, so that a total of 150 observers from all the 28 EU member states as well as Norway, Switzerland and Canada will be deployed on the election day along with EU diplomats.
Europe: Voting ban on prisoners convicted of serious crimes is lawful, EU court rules | The Guardian
The European Union’s most senior court has ruled that it is lawful for countries such as Britain to impose a voting ban on prisoners convicted of serious crimes. The unexpected ruling by the European court of justice upholds a ban on a French convicted murderer who was serving a sentence of more than five years from taking part in the European elections. The European judges ruled that the ban on him voting did represent a breach of the EU charter of fundamental rights but that it was proportionate “in so far as it takes into account the nature and gravity of the criminal offence committed and the duration of the penalty”. The ruling, which has clear implications for Britain’s blanket ban on prisoner voting, went on: “The court concludes that it is possible to maintain a ban which, by operation of law, precludes persons convicted of a serious crime from voting in elections to the European parliament.”
A decision by pro-Russian separatists to postpone local elections that Ukraine had said were illegitimate was welcomed on Tuesday by Kiev, the European Union, Washington and Moscow – the rebels’ patron – as a sign of progress in the faltering peace process. The separatists said the elections, which they had set for Oct. 18 and Nov. 1 in two regions they control, would take place next February, potentially giving time for a compromise that would suit all sides. The concession by the separatists comes at a time when Russia has adopted a more constructive tone in talks over Ukraine, according to diplomats involved in the discussion who say Russia has influence over the rebels.